The Neurolinguistic Approach is also being used widely in Canada to teach First Nations Languages: Han (Yukon), Cree (Saskatchewan and British Columbia), Dene (Northwest Territories), Inuktituk (Iqaluit, Nunavut), as well as French, English and Cree in the James Bay area.

The Neurolinguistic Approach is also being used widely in Canada to teach First Nations Languages: Han (Yukon), Cree (Saskatchewan and British Columbia), Dene (Northwest Territories), Inuktituk (Iqaluit, Nunavut), as well as French, English and Cree in the James Bay area.

There has been a resurgence in efforts to revitalize First Nations languages across the country, and the Neurolinguistic Approach is the focus of a number of pilot projects. A number of challenges face educational authorities that wish to implement a language program, not the least of which is the small number of qualified teachers who are fluent speakers. 

In the Northwest Territories, where there are eleven official languages, a special certification program has been set up through Aurora College to provide teacher training to speakers. In 2012, a first two-week training session dealing with the NLA was offered to some thirty teachers, representing all areas of the Territories. While there was some follow-up in one school district that decided to apply the NLA strategies as well as possible in 2013-2014, it was only in the 2015-2016 school year that an official territorial pilot project was established. Some modifications to approach have had to be implemented, as the intensity of the program could not be replicated and there are very few resources available in the languages to support efforts in using a literacy-based approach to develop oral proficiency. "Readers" will be developed as the pilot project continues. 

Since the NLA emphasizes spoken language as an entry point into the language, this approach is well-suited for First Nations school systems. There are also many similarities between the teaching strategies and the way in which knowledge in general is imparted in these communities.

The Ahkwesahne Mohawk School Board has adopted the NLA for their immersion and core programs.

In the James Bay School District, use of the neurolinguistic approach (NLA) is also helping to improve the teaching of Cree, English and French to both students and adults. For the past five years, teachers from the French sector have been receiving training that supports the development of oral language in their teaching practice. Subsequent training sessions are added for the integration of reading and writing, always grounded in NLA pedagogy. Teachers from the elementary and secondary levels receive this training during professional development days.

In the development of a Viable and Guaranteed Curriculum (VGC), the NLA is favoured as a best practice for language teaching.

The Sabtuan Adult Education Service (Bay James region) has created thematic units in English and French for the adult education sector.

In Iqaluit, Nunavut, the approach is also assisting to improve second language teaching with an Intensive and post intensive French program. In addition, a program for acquiring Inuktitut has been put in place.

Language courses are developed and taught to civil servants of the Government of Nunavut. These courses integrate the NLA at all levels, from Beginners to Intermediate. The participants are mostly Inuit, and the authentic practical applications take place in their actual work contexts.

The NLA is also used by the Saanich School Board (Vancouver Island) in their Saanich Immersion Program.

In other indigenous communities, the approach is also being implemented, several workshops and training session have been given in the following communities:  

  • Secoten teachers in British Columbia
  • Cree communities in Saskatchewan

For more information, see this article (in french only), which has been published in the Revue de l'Association Québécoise des Enseignants du Français Langue Seconde  (http://aqefls.org/index.html).

For more information, you may also contact:

David Macfarlane

Andre Charlebois