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Walking in Both Worlds: Native American Students and Language Acquisition

June 21, 2020

This mini-documentary explores the context of language acquisition and development among Native American students in New Mexico. Interviews with researchers and educators highlight the importance of schools’ supporting Native American students in two crucial areas: (1) native language acquisition, development, and preservation and (2) English language acquisition and development. Researchers note that heritage language acquisition and development can help Native American students advance their English language skills.

Viewers will learn about promising research-based strategies that educators, administrators, and community and tribal leaders can use to support Native American students’ language acquisition. Additional themes explore culturally responsive practices and tribal leader and community engagement. 

Featured speakers include Tiffany S. Lee, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Native American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico (UNM); Christine Sims, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the American Indian Language and Policy Research and Teacher Training Center at UNM; and Laurie Smith, English Language Arts instructor at Zuni High School. Smith also discusses her former role on the American Indian English Learners Task Force at the New Mexico Public Education Department.