Intercultural Connections Success Story
Prince Albert Multicultural Council – Language Diversity Program
The Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) offered a program called Discovering Diversity in Language that offered Spanish and Cree classes. Both classes ran for 35 weeks from September 2013 to June 2014 with 20 students enrolled in the Spanish class and 15 students enrolled in the Cree class. There was a small tuition fee with the majority of the program cost supported by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) and Saskatchewan Organization for Heritage Languages Inc. (SOHL).
The teachers helped participants connect across cultures through sharing stories, watching videos and listening to music in the language they were learning. The teachers are native-speakers of Cree and Spanish, which enabled them to share their languages and cultures with their respective classes. Students also had opportunities to share their cultures with each other. Very close bonds developed among students and teachers through cultural sharing; students had fun and new friendships formed.
“I have taken informal Cree classes before but this is the first time I’ve learned the grammar and I find it very helpful,” explained one student. “The class in which we accessed a Cree web site was good as it’s a resource where we can get vocabulary repeated as many times as we need.”
Another student said, “Learning about language was awesome – I just need a lot more practice speaking, but now I understand a lot more about the language structure. This class helped a lot to integrate with the people I work and volunteer with.”
The first year of the Discovering Diversity in Language program was successful and PAMC hopes to offer it again this year with the addition of the Mandarin language. There is already a waiting list of people interested in attending the next session. Through these classes, students gained deeper understanding, respect and interest in different cultures.