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Sámi Education

Pigga Keskitalo, Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

This book is a pioneering work. It discusses special characteristics of the education of Sámi people, an indigenous people living in Northern Europe. The book provides a comprehensive study of indigenous school research and special features of Sámi education including problems and opportunities that teachers and pupils confront daily. The purpose of this book is to support the realization of indigenous peoples’ education based on their own cultural premises. New, reformative pedagogical models and culturally sensitive teaching arrangements that could enhance Sámi education are the focus of the book. It is aimed at everyone who is interested in indigenous peoples’ educational conditions and is based on the authors’ research cooperation in the field of Sámi education.


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The Linguistic Special Features of the Sámi Education


Curriculum as a research target forms a multifaceted and multidimensional phe- nomenon (Turunen, 2008). The relationship between the official, implemented, and experienced curricula (Goodlad et al., 1979) is a focal target of this review. Namely, the aim of this chapter is to analyze the special characteristics of North Sámi language instruction at the first school grades. At the same time, the ques- tion of how the school supports the Sámi culture is at the center: how the read- ing and writing of North Sámi language are taught at school? North Sámi Language Instruction The municipal language programs The challenging nature of the language-sociological situation of Sámi language is shown in the data by the relatively heavily-built municipal language programs in Norwegian Sámi school system. Those models were adopted from the nation- al models that emphasize the importance of the Norwegian and English lan- guages. This kind of model is, however, somewhat unsuitable for Sámi schools as they do not pay attention to the special status of the Sámi language. The pupils start studying the Sámi language at the first grade in the munici- palities of the administrative district of the Sámi language at the same time with the Norwegian and English language in age of six. In addition, Kven- speaking or Finnish-speaking or other immigrants start also studying their own language. An option is also to study in bilingual class. (Research Diary, fall 2001) In Norway, there is a nation-wide...

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