Sunday, March 04, 2007

Back to School for Me

I'm back to start another school week tomorrow, only this time I will be without students. School staff in Nunavut hold a Professional Improvement Week around this time of year and this week happens to be the week for our school.

So I've opted to take a week's worth of Inuktitut lessons to build on last year's lessons. I've hired the same local man I worked with for this last year and I'm really looking forward to it. Most times I use Inuktitut are either for when I am coaching soccer or out and about in the community. I find I learn Inukitut best in real life, everyday situations rather than simply copying down phrases and learning by rote though I do keep a small book to write a few things down. I was told that the staff member whose position I now have learned Inukitut by going out on the land with elders and local hunters which I think is a fantastic way of doing it.

Also, fellow bloggers Nunvut Newbies (see it over on my sidebar) are compiling an on-line Inuktitut dictionary. I checked it out earlier this evening and even though the Kivalliq dialect differs from here, I found I could still understand most of the words. Most of the differences were in spelling or slight pronunciation variations. But considering how traditional Inuit society was so spread out over this vast territory here and that syllabics were only introduced as a writing system a little of 100 years ago, I find the similarities quite fascinating.

Due to historical reasons, there is no standardized spellings of some words and I still need to work on the spelling part of learning Inuktitut myself. If the Department of Education offered Inuktitut language instruction to southern hires, I know I'd be first in line. Anyhow, back to class tomorrow so I'll see how much I can remember and how much (hopefully not too much!) I've forgotten since my last lessons.


c'est moi said...

So, if I get what you are saying, and I am trying to clarify here, you have a week of pedagogical activity and you've hired yourself a tutor for Inuktitut? Is that correct? You are also paying for this out of your own pocket? That is really something! Is that the way PD is handled across Nunavut? Just curious and/ or astonished.

Way Way Up said...

Here in Nunavut, we have a Professional Improvement Fund teachers contribute too. Teachers receive funds out of this based on the size/remoteness of their community.

I've picked up Inuktitut from living here 4 years of course but I find opportunities like this week to be excellent when I can really focus and apply what I learn. I try not to pass up too many opportunities to go out on the land as I find times like that especially valuable.

I like to think my pronounciation are pretty good though my spelling of Inuktitut is something I'm really careful about since I've been exposed to a few different dialects and they have all been mangled over the years.


c'est moi said...


I think that is really great PD. I wish we had something like that up here. I would organize fishing trips for our staff with local elders who don't speak any English or French ;-)Personally, I haven't picked up very many new words since I have been back. I wish I had a better chance to learn; like your fund has provided you.

J Consortium said...

So THIS is why we've gotten a lot of traffic to our blog from yours. ;) A ton of our traffic is from the other blogs, but I noticed an influx coming from here! You've got yourself a sizable audience, Darcy. :)


Way Way Up said...

Woo hoo!