Preserving Indigenous Language

Cultivating home languages in the classroom. 

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey, Alan N. Crawford, and Frances Dixon

On a mountaintop surrounded by clouds and rainforest, students gather for classes. The students here all came from the surrounding villages where Q’anjob’al, a Mayan language, is spoken.  The school serves students aged 12 to 18, and many go on to university. At times, students have even been known to inflate their ages so they can attend; the desire to learn is that great.

 

 

The students at Maya Jaguar come to preserve their heritage as Mayans, to learn Spanish, and to bring the best of the world beyond their villages back home. Alumni from Maya Jaguar return to the villages as nurses and teachers.  Most of the teachers at the school speak Q’anjob’al and Spanish.

To read the entire article, please download Preserving Indigenous Language (click the link) or join the International Literacy Association to stay current with literacy topics and issues all year long.

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