NSU students read in Cherokee with immersion students
Northeastern State University Cherokee II student Frances Duvall uses a rabbit to help interpret a book to a Cherokee Nation Immersion School student. To help students learn the Cherokee language, NSU students and immersion school students on March 12 read books in Cherokee to each other. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – To get students to learn the Cherokee language, a kindergarten class at the Cherokee Nation Immersion School got the chance to sit and read books in Cherokee with Northeastern State University students.
Kindergarten teacher and NSU Cherokee II course instructor Meda Nix had her college students visit and read with the immersion school students on March 12 as part of a class project.
“As a teacher it is my responsibility to make learning fun, but also to challenge students to want to learn,” Nix said. “Cherokee is a very hard language. The more creative that we as teachers can be in teaching the language, the more students will learn.”
One NSU student provided the books, which were written in the Cherokee syllabary, and the students got to choose which book they wanted to share with the immersion students. After choosing the books, the NSU students translated the books into Cherokee phonetics and English so they could pronounce and understand it.
“I’ve never done this before, so it’s definitely a new experience just to be in the Cherokee culture, to be here and to read to little kids and show them what we’ve learned since we’ve been in the class,” NSU student Riley Bunch said.
Bunch, a senior, is majoring in speech language pathology. He took the Cherokee II course as an elective to better understand his Cherokee heritage.
“This is just my second semester. It’s a part of my electives,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about my language and more about my culture so I took this class.”
The Cherokee II course is also a part of the Cherokee Education Degree Program at NSU. It allows students to major in the Cherokee language and give them the capability to teach, speak, read and write the Cherokee language.
The Cherokee Nation Immersion School began in 2001 as a language preservation program. Within a few years, it developed into an elementary school setting where the Cherokee language is taught on a daily basis.
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