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Learn in Beauty: A Professional Development Project for Navajo Bilingual Teachers

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National Association for Bilingual Education Annual Meeting,


The Learn in Beauty Project at Northern Arizona University worked with a consortium of seven Navajo Nation school districts seeking to implement the Dine Language and Culture teaching perspective. This perspective is based on the premises that education is best when it reflects a sense of place; education should be based on the philosophy and values of those being educated; and preparation of teachers/mentors should reflect the Dine perspective of education. The project assisted teachers who were enrolled tribal members in completing a bilingual Navajo endorsement and an M.Ed. and provided continued support to the teachers as they juggled jobs, families, and studies. The goals of the project were to: support school reform by strengthening a network of schools on the Navajo Nation that provide exemplary community-based programs for limited-English-proficient students; implement a standards-based curriculum that reflected the Dine philosophy of education; and support beginning bilingual teachers. Mentors had a master's degree in bilingual education or curriculum and instruction and at least 3 years of bilingual classroom experience. Courses were provided at six reservation sites via onsite instruction, online courses, and interactive television. During the 5 years of the project, 100 Navajo students completed a master's degree in bilingual multicultural education. The project also served as a model of long-term collaboration between a college, a tribal education department, public schools, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools to serve language minority students in rural settings. Comments of program graduates are included. (TD)


Lockard, L., de Groat, J. & Bedonie, C. (2003). Learn in Beauty: A Professional Development Project for Navajo Bilingual Teachers. Presented at National Association for Bilingual Education Annual Meeting 2003. Retrieved September 18, 2020 from .

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