Specialized training in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program : a case study
The Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) officially came into existence in April of 1980. The program is designed to recognize a unique and distinctive cultural group in Western ,Canada. Students in the programs a,re expected to acquire knowledge and to develop teaching skills responsive to the needs of Native students in urban communities in Saskatchewan. The SUNTEP program therefore is a specialized training in Native Studies and Cross Cultural Education, and as such, has an emphasis on language development and an extended field component. This thesis examines the nature of the specialized training requirements; the historical development and the outcomes of this specialized training. The perceptions are from those who are responsible for delivery of the program, those who teach and oversee the components and those who receive the training. The study reviews the literature pertaining to Native teacher education in Canada and United States up to the present and gives the description of the SUNTEP program as the setting for the study. The study adds to the body of knowledge on the subject of teacher training for Native North Americans. There is a growing realization that more emphasis must be given to this process. Effectiveness of Native teachers in creating an educational system in which Native children will succeed with their unique culture and heritage intact requires more than their "nativeness." To succeed Native teachers must:(1) achieve a sense of self fulfillment (2) develop skills which will meet the needs of the communities they serve (3) acquire certain knowledge which they must pass on. Educators who provide this training must understand the stresses of this particular group and this way, assist Native teachers in understanding these stresses in order to find ways of dealing with them. Educators involved in Native teacher training must acknowledge the aspirations of the communities served by this endeavor and provide the knowledge and skills which Native teachers will require to do their work. Lastly, the educational organizations and systems involved must support Native teachers beyond training and make possible by whatever action is necessary the realization of their impor~ant role in creating an environment where Native children will succeed. In the case of SUNTEP, Saskatchewan and the Native people then should benefit from this special program of training Native teachers.
native, teacher, urban, aboriginal, education
Master of Education (M.Ed.)