Friday, 22 September 2017 05:40

Niitsitapi program will return next fall for students

Written by  Demi Knight
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The University of Lethbridge in partnership with Red Crow College are re-launching a program in the fall of 2018 to better prepare students for teaching within the Blackfoot community.

The Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program will officially be offered in September of 2018 to all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students or interested non-Indigenous students wanting to work with Blackfoot children and youth.
 Roy Weasel Fat, president of Red Crow Community College, says not only is the College proud to be partnered with the University for this program but this course will also be great preparation for those wanting to learn about the Blackfoot community.
“We look forward to working with the U of L on the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program. The program will prepare students to teach from a Blackfoot perspective and ultimately, to pass along language and culture to future generations.”
This program which was previously first offered in 2004, is back next fall with exciting opportunities for all those who wish to apply.
The Niitsitapi program will be offered to after degree students as a four-semester program, or to current under-graduate degree students as a five-year combined degree’s program.
By offering classes specialized in Blackfoot language, values and ways of knowing, the first courses offered in the program are designed to create a solid foundation of the necessities needed moving forward.
The program also offers courses in educational psychology, language in education, communication technology and a language seminar.
The program also includes social context of schooling classes, education electives and 27 weeks of a practicum, where the program as a whole is designed to meet the expectations and competencies of the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard, as well as further knowledge and experience for those wanting to work within the Blackfoot Culture.
After the program’s initial success in its launch in 2004, members of the faculty at both the University of Lethbridge and Red Crow College are excited to build on the program’s name and once again make it available for students.
“We first offered the program in 2004 to a full cohort of students and we look forward to building on that success. We are happy to once again offer the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program in collaboration with our partners at Red Crow Community College,” says Dr. Nancy Grigg, acting associate dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge.
The program which was originally brought into the system in the fall of 2004, had similar core values, with 24 students originally enrolling in the program, and nine of those 24 going on to graduate with the double degree.
A report in 2006 stated that eight out of those nine were employed after obtaining their degree in a career related to their field of study.
However, after making the program available a review showed there were certain factors that needed to be addressed, such as permanent funding, and an initiated curriculum review so lessons of the Niitsitapi can be brought into the general program of education.
Finally, the idea to expand the capacity of the Red Crow Community College regarding cultural and transitional offerings was also discussed.
With these changes in mind the program is back in the fall of 2018 so students are once again offered this career-expanding and important opportunity.
Dr. Chris Mattatall, education professor and member of the Niitsitapi Steering Committee, says this time the program is offered with a better understanding of the students’ needs.
“We learned a lot of lessons from the first Niitsitapi program so we have a better understanding of what our students need. We have been planning with our partners at Red Crow College from the start so we have a shared vision.”
With the program set to launch in the fall of 2018, the upcoming academic year will see the two institutions working on recruitment for anyone interested in joining the program. More information on requirements necessary and the program itself can be found online at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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