Fond du Lac Revitalizes Teacher Training Program

Feb 20th, 2016 | By | Category: 27-3: The Trials of Teacher Education, Tribal College News
By Tom Urbanski
TEACHER NASHAY BAKER, AN FDLTCC GRADUATE, REMAINED IN THE FOND DU LAC COMMUNITY.

FDLTCC graduates such as Nashay Baker have remained in the Fond du Lac tribal community, employing culturally responsive approaches to teach elementary school children. Photo by Tom Urbanski

The redevelopment of the American and Indigenous Elementary Education Program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) will become a reality next fall. The program will take an innovative approach to teacher training and is designed to prepare students to be future elementary school teachers.

“Our American and Indigenous Elementary Education Program will prepare all students, but specifically Native American students, within a teacher preparation system emphasizing cultural approaches to educating future teachers,” says Sara Montgomery, FDLTCC’s program coordinator. “Faculty and staff will teach students through a cultural responsive education approach with an emphasis in an Indigenous science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum.”

To better meet the educational needs of Minnesota’s American Indian students, the state’s legislature originally granted the college permission in 1995 to offer a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. The college is the only two-year higher education institution in Minnesota that is able to offer such a four-year degree program.

“Through a unique 2+2 agreement with Winona State University, students will complete the upper division course requirements and practical teaching portions of the bachelor’s degree program,” Montgomery explains. “We plan to follow this collaborative model for two years, and then ultimately transition the entire four-year program to reside at FDLTCC.”

Coursework within the American and Indigenous Elementary Education Program focuses on leadership, community innovation, and building connections to tribal nations. A key component includes preparing students for the Minnesota Board of Teaching exams and licensure, as well as promoting an understanding of students’ individual cultural values and the cultural values of others.

FDLTCC’s program will deliver culturally relevant pedagogy to aspiring teachers in an effort to enhance their employment possibilities. At the same time, the program aims to use transformative approaches that draw from Indigenous knowledge systems and techniques such as storytelling, talking circles, theater/ drama/song and dance, hands-on activities, and language.

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