Doyon Foundation is taking Doyon Languages Online (DLO) in the classroom, thanks to a grant recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Education (ANE) program.
The Foundation was one of 28 recipients of three-year ANE grants totaling $35.3 million. These grants will support innovative projects that recognize and address the unique educational needs of Alaska Natives.
DLO in the Classroom is designed to increase the capacity of schools in the Doyon region to teach Alaska Native languages to their students, and to provide increased language learning opportunities for students.
“This project will address the declining number of speakers of the Doyon region’s 10 endangered Alaska Native languages and the extremely limited number of trained teachers who can provide Alaska Native language instruction,” said Allan Hayton, director of Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program.
Through the project, K-12 teachers and trained language teachers who are fluent in one or more of the Doyon region languages will collaborate to facilitate language instruction for students in K-12 classrooms. The project will be piloted at Effie Kokrine Charter School in Fairbanks, with the long-term goal of expanding the model to other schools and districts in the Doyon region.
“Doyon Languages Online has allowed us to offer students the opportunity to learn multiple different Alaska Native languages, which is a huge challenge for any school. The grant will make it possible to complement this online learning with in-person instruction with mentors who speak the languages. I am confident that this will increase learning opportunities through this connection with speakers,” said Josh Snow, principal at Effie Kokrine Charter School.
DLO In the Classroom will use the Foundation’s existing Doyon Languages Online curriculum, developed through prior ANE program grants, as well as provide in-person listening and speaking lessons.
Currently, DLO offers online language-learning lessons in:
- Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana)
- Deg Xinag
- Denaakk’e (Koyukon)
- Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross)
- Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim)
- Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in)
- Doogh Qinag (Holikachuk)
A course in Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) is in the final stages of development. DLO courses, which were developed in partnership with the nonprofit 7000 Languages, are available for free to all interested language learners.
DLO in the Classroom is the latest undertaking of Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program. Established in 2012 with support of Doyon, Limited, the program is taking a multi-pronged, collaborative approach to revitalizing the languages of the Doyon region, leading efforts such as Doyon Languages Online, the Our Language grant program, and the Mentor-Apprentice Program.
“It is exciting to see the momentum of our language revitalization efforts, which continue to grow thanks to the financial support of entities like ANE and the support of our many partners,” Hayton said.