The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Offers a New Language and Culture
Course at the University of Arkansas.
By Freddie A. Bowles
University of Arkansas (UA) students have a unique opportunity to expand their knowledge of one of our neighboring nations this fall. Just across the border, the southwestern Arkansas border, you’ll find one of the many sovereign nations within the United States — the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The opportunity? One of the nation’s leading educators, Professor Curtis Billy, is teaching a Choctaw language course for UA credit.
The Choctaw Language Department in Durant, Oklahoma, in cooperation with the UA College of Education and Health Professions and the UA Global Campus, has agreed to provide Beginning Choctaw Language and Culture during the 2010 fall semester. This is the only Native American language offered at the university and may be the first Native American language course ever offered at the UA.
As a bonus, students enrolled at the University of Arkansas will earn three hours of elective credit for completing the course.
Beginning Choctaw Language and Culture meets three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Graduation Education Building, Room 340, from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. No prerequisites are necessary. The course is listed online under "off-campus" — you must pull down the menu for "Campus" to locate the course, which is titled CDIS 490v — Special Problems, Section 901. Books are provided free of charge.
Another unique aspect of the class concerns the instructional delivery. Professor Billy “broadcasts” from his classroom at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant using Interactive Television (IETV), a synchronous delivery platform that is becoming increasingly prevalent in public school systems. I first learned about this form of distance learning at a professional development workshop at the University of Central Arkansas some years ago. I did not have the opportunity to observe the application of the technology until 2007 when I visited the School of Choctaw Language and participated in several of their broadcasts.
The School of Choctaw Language currently teaches Choctaw
in over 40 public schools and offers three levels of
Choctaw as a foreign language credit at the high school level. The tribal government is committed to preserving the language and also supports Internet classes, Head Start classes, and college classes. Moreover, community classes are offered in several states besides “Oklahoma,” which is a Choctaw term for “red (homma) people (okla).” The Nation employs over 100 teachers in 105 different settings.
It is a great honor to be a part of the Choctaw Nation’s effort to preserve and perpetuate Choctaw language and culture.
Education, Tradition, History
The Mission Statement of the School of Choctaw Language states:
The Language Program of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has taken its timely place in the journey of preserving and perpetuating our language and culture. We will instill and encourage the desire to learn the Choctaw language in the old, young, tribal, and non-tribal people. We will provide the highest quality educational environment for first language speakers, teachers, and learners. We will promote and enhance cultural awareness by teaching traditional customs and historical facts.
We envision future language educators having one vision and goal; that their support and contributions will not cease.
We believe that with spiritual guidance and faith, this never ending journey will continue.
Retrieved from http://www.choctawschool.com/
Essays and Reports
by Dr. Bowles
of Teacher Educators
on the Teaching
of Foreign Languages
of Less Commonly
of Teachers of French
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of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
University of Arkansas
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Theory of Instruction