Using culturally appropriate methodology to explore dene mother’s views on language facilitation
This study aimed to identify the differences in the beliefs and educational practices related to language acquisition of Dene and non-Aboriginal mothers. A survey of 30 Dene mothers in a Northern community was carried out using research methodology that was culturally adjusted to the Dene culture and language. The 30 non-Aboriginal mothers completed a conventional survey form. The survey evaluated the mothers’ beliefs about language acquisition and their current practices of supporting their children’s language learning. The study revealed subtle differences between the Dene and the non-Aboriginal mothers with regards to both their beliefs and practices. The Dene mothers valued spirituality and their child’s connection to traditional faith and beliefs more highly than the non-Aboriginal mothers. They also supported the use of child-directed speech to facilitate their children’s language development. They felt that Elders and grandparents had an important role to play in their children’s lives, and they favoured teaching by providing a combination of verbal and hands-on instruction. The Dene mothers reported frequent use of language facilitation strategies. By adjusting the survey in a culturally appropriate way, the participation in the research was facilitated for the Dene mothers.