IGNITE offers instructional methods to language teachers
Betsy Paskvan taught Japanese language methodology at the 2018 Indigenous Gathering of Native Language Instructional Techniques for Educators (IGNITE) Conference held July 23–26 at the Heritage Elementary School in Tahlequah. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Gaelic teacher Jason Bond shared how he teaches Gaelic with Cherokee language instructors during the 2018 Indigenous Gathering of Native Language Instructional Techniques for Educators Conference held July 23-26 in Tahlequah. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The 2018 Indigenous Gathering of Native Language Instructional Techniques for Educators or IGNITE Conference was held July 23-26 at the Heritage Elementary School and included an international flavor.
Cherokee Nation citizen and IGNITE creator Wade Blevins said he brought some of the world’s finest language educators to Tahlequah to instruct area Cherokee language teachers on effective teaching techniques and strategies developed for teaching languages.
“I spent a lot of years traveling to other conferences and learned a lot, and I wanted to bring that knowledge here to Cherokee Nation for other teachers of the Cherokee language in order to help them preserve our language,” Blevins said.
Blevins said after coming up with the idea, he asked colleagues who teach other languages if they would be willing to come to Tahlequah to share what they knew, not about the languages they teach, but the best methods to teach languages.
“They graciously agreed,” he said.
The group consisted of Spanish teachers Rachelle Adams, Sean Lawler, Darcy Pippins and Andrea Alford; French teachers Anna Gilcher, Steven Ardriano and Connie Horner; Gaelic language teacher Jason Bond; Latin teacher Bob Patrick; and Japanese language instructor Betsy Paskvan. Other instructors were Manderin language teacher Naiyun Lu and Laura Mannen, who teaches English as a second language.
A number of Cherokees educators enrolled in the conference, including Northeastern State University Assistant Professor Dr. Candessa Tehee.
“Here at the second annual IGNITE conference we have Cherokee teachers from all levels, including people from the CN Office of Translation, the Office of Language Technology, online teachers, people who teach community classes and those who teach at the university level,” she said.
Tehee said she also saw staff from the Cherokee Immersion Charter School and the CN Master/Apprentice Language Program.
Tehee, who teaches American Indian studies at NSU, said she attended because IGNITE instructors are master-level teachers. She said she believes attending the conference is a great way for her to improve her own teaching skills.
French teacher and IGNITE instructor Anna Gilcher is from the Washington, D.C., area. She came to Tahlequah along with her business partner and Spanish teacher, Rachelle Adams, to assist Blevins in the coordination of the four-day event.
“This is my second year at IGNITE,” Gilcher said. “Rachelle and I came because we are deeply passionate about helping teachers of all kinds, but language teachers in particular, and especially teachers who are working to save a language and a culture. That is the most noble purpose that I can imagine.”
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