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Mentor-Apprentice Program

The goal of the Mentor-Apprentice Program is to facilitate the development of fluent speakers of B.C. First Nations languages where fluent speakers are partnered with committed learners in an immersion environment in the home and on the land.

This is a one-on-one language immersion program. A "mentor" (a fluent speaker of a language) is paired with an "apprentice" (learner). The mentor and apprentice spend 300 hours per year together doing everyday activities using the language at all times. In this program, learners become more fluent, which is especially valuable for languages where only a couple of fluent speakers are left.

The Mentor-Apprentice Program (MAP) was first developed in California specifically for Native American languages, but the program can be used to learn any language. It was developed on the basis of a suggestion by Julian Lang, a Karuk speaker, and initially created by Leanne Hinton, Nancy Richardson, Mary Bates Abbott and others (Hinton 2001). For more information on the program in California, see the website for the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival: www.aicls.org

FPCC started a B.C. Mentor-Apprentice Program in 2008 with 12 teams from 11 different B.C. languages. The goal for each team was to complete 900 hours of immersion in their language (3 years of 300 hours per year). These 12 teams showed great success and all of the apprentices became more fluent in their languages. A new group of 10 teams started in November 2010.

Note: The Master-Apprentice Program has been re-named the Mentor-Apprentice Program. While this method of language learning is still known internationally as 'Master-Apprentice', the term 'Mentor' more closely reflects the mentorship role of the fluent speaker in the First Peoples' Cultural Council's Mentor-Apprentice Program. The name change does not indicate any changes to the program itself.

Mentor-Apprentice Program Overview
Click here to watch a short video for an overview of the Mentor-Apprentice Program!

Click here to see a list of teams that have participated in the Mentor-Apprentice Program with the FPCC.

FPCC Resources: Other Resources:

NEȾOLṈEW̱ Language Learning Assessment Tool
The NEȾOLṈEW̱ Language Learning Assessment Tool was developed from a SSHRC-funded partnership project with the University of Victoria for adults learning Indigenous languages. The resource can be downloaded in print and web form.
[Print] [Web]

First Nations Language Benchmarks (FNLB)
Dr. Jack Miller developed the First Nations Language Benchmarks (FNLB) in 2004 as a practical and culturally appropriate tool to assess language learning. In 2013, Dr. Michele Johnson adapted Dr. Miller's model of the FNLB based on the abilities of First Nations language learners using the Paul Creek method for language learning.

Click here to access Dr. Jack Miller's FNLB tools
Click here to access Dr. Michele Johnson's adaptation of the FNLB

Witsuwit'en Language and Culture Society (WLCS)

The WLCS has developed two resources to support language learning and language teaching. The Language Learning Tips resource can be used as a guide by apprentices learning their language, and the Language Teaching Tips resource provides helpful information that mentors can use when working with their apprentices.  
Language Learning Tips
Language Teaching Tips

Youth Language Videos
(Ehattesaht First Nation, 2018)
The following videos were created by youth at a language and culture camp with the Ehattesaht First Nation. These videos are great examples of how language learners (apprentices) can be creative and have fun in their language!

The Phone Call - kitḥšiƛʔaƛ̓in
Around the Kitchen - siquwił or siqiiłuwił
The visit - ʕatḥw̓it̓asʔi
MAP Report Forms and Documents:
  • Forms and Documents Contents [PDF]
  • A - Outline of Forms and Documents [PDF
  • B - Mentor-Apprentice Team Agreement [PDF] [Word]
  • C - Apprentice Fluency Self Assessment Form [PDF] [Word]
  • D - Mentor-Apprentice Work Plan Form [PDF] [Word]
  • E - *50-Hour Report and Expense Summary [PDF] [Word]
  • F - Administrator Responsibilities [PDF]
  • G - **Panel Evaluation Form [PDF] [Word]
  • H - Mentor-Apprentice Program Reflections (Final Report) [PDF] [Word]

* Note: This is the form that MAP teams are required to submit after every 50 hours of immersion work.
**Note: This is the form that MAP teams are required to submit after each panel evaluation (every 100 hours of immersion work).

For more information, please contact Aliana Parker: aliana@fpcc.ca

Click here to access information about FPCC funding opportunities.

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