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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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Language Immersion Tepee as a Facilitator of theSámi Language Learning


78 79 Language Immersion Tepee as a Facilitator of the Sámi Language Learning Language immersion is a teaching method in which the target language is con- sciously used in a child’s environment, usually at school or a day care center, in the same way as the native language: by hearing it in his or her environment and using it in real-life interactional situations (see Skutnabb-Kangas & Dunbar, 2010). Various subjects can be taught with the target language at school (Creese & Blackledge, 2010; Rodgers, 2006). Teaching through language immersion started in Canada in the 1960s (Genesee, 2012). In New Zealand, the first Kura Kaupapa Māori schools were established in 1985 when the Māori language was in a critical near-death stage. “Kura Kaupapa Māori” refers to Māori-language immersion schools where the philosophy and practice reflect Māori cultural val- ues, with the aim of revitalizing Māori language, knowledge, and culture (Smith, 2005). In Finland, early complete language immersion has been used for teach- ing the Swedish language since 1987, and it has been studied in the language immersion project at the University of Vaasa (Laurén, 1991), and in Inari Sámi language (Pasanen, 2003). It is possible to achieve functional bilingualism through language immersion (Cummins, 1998). According to studies, language immersion is an efficient teaching method and does not harm children’s development in their native lan- guage (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2009). The ability to read is a mechanical skill: after one has learned to read and write, transferring...

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