Indigenous Language Immersion
In the language context of the United States, Keres would be considered a marginalized, minority language and English would be considered the majority, colonizing language. English pervades the sound waves. Therefore, at KCLC, we chose Indigenous Language Immersion as our strategy to elevate Keres and protect children from English dominance. Here at KCLC, Keres is the language of prestige. This means that we immerse our children in Keres (the target language) all day long in the Primary (3-6-year-olds) classroom. It means that our Primary teachers and our Language and Culture teachers stay in Keres the whole time they are with children and do not translate. It means that even if the children speak English to each other or to an adult, the adults only ever speak Keres back to the child or in the child’s presence. This setup encourages children to “stretch” to talk to the teacher using the Keres language.
Some core characteristics of Indigenous Language Immersion are:
- Sustained instruction in the target language of Keres in all areas of learning
- Teachers who are proficient enough to teach in the target language
- Teachers stay in the target language of Keres without reverting to English