The Training and Research department implements the school board’s teacher training program. It also oversees research projects undertaken in partnership with external organizations, universities and independent researchers.
Since its creation, the Kativik School Board offers a training program to Inuit teachers. The program is geared towards to acquisition, by Inuit teachers, of a teaching certification recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Up to now, over a hundred Inuit teachers have graduated from this program.
The Teacher Training Program is offered in Nunavik, in partnership with McGill University. On a yearly basis, an average of 9 courses are offered to Inuit teachers during the fall, winter and spring. In addition, 6 to 9 courses are also offered every year during an intensive summer session.
All the courses are taught in Inuktitut, by Inuit teachers who are working collaboratively with consultants from McGill University. This contributes to empowering Inuit teachers while also building Nunavik’s capacities in the area of education and Inuit academic expertise.
Upon completion of the program, the teacher training graduates obtain a teaching certification from the Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education. This certification is valid anywhere in the province. Those wishing to pursue further their education can do so, as our program eases the progress from the completion of the education certificate towards the completion of a Bachelor or a Master’s degree.
On average, the school board’s Inuit teachers take five to seven years to complete the Teacher Training Program. They enroll in the program while working full-time in Nunavik schools, joggling a demanding profession and family commitments.
The Teacher Training Program offers five different teaching certificates to Inuit students:
- Certificate in Education First Nations and Inuit (60 credits)
- Certificate in Education First Nations and Inuit – Physical Education Concentration (30 credits)
- Bachelor in Education for certified teachers (120 credits)
- Certificate in First Nations and Inuit Leadership (30 credits)
- Certificate in First Nations and Inuit Student Personnel Services (30 credits)
As part its research mandate, the Training and Research department leads the implementation of projects related to areas of expertise relevant to the school board. The research projects are developed and selected with the objective of supporting projects implemented by the school board and curriculum development work in first and second languages, with a focus on the regular sector.
Training and research
In 1975, our teacher training program was founded on the fundamental belief that Northern Education would require a cadre of trained Inuit teachers. The number of Inuit who have graduated from the program, and who now occupy key teaching and administrative positions, is a measure of the program’s success. Over the years, a unique vision of education has crystallized around the following principles.
Teacher training must be designed in such a way as to minimize disruptions to family and community life that are fundamental to Inuit values. This is accomplished by designing intensive academic courses that can be offered to trainees in Northern communities. The courses are prepared by a team involving academic staff from McGill University and senior Inuit instructors. The result of this collaborative process is that teachers-in-training receive their courses in Inuktitut.
Just as it is crucial for Inuit children’s self-esteem and cultural identity to have teachers of their own culture, it is equally important for teachers-in-training to be taught by Inuit instructors in their mother tongue.
The content of the teacher training program must be continuously evaluated and revised. As with course development, program and course evaluation is conducted on an ongoing basis by teams of social scientists from McGill University and senior Inuit educators.
Teachers enrolled in the program are homeroom teachers in the early primary grades where the language of instruction is Inuktitut or they are subject specialists who teach at the upper primary and secondary levels in Inuktitut. There is also a physical education concentration in the certificate program.
Courses are taught in Inuktitut by trained Inuit instructors. Graduates of the 60 credit program receive the Brevet de l’Education du Loisir et du sport d’enseignement du ministère de l’Education du Québec (provincial teaching diploma) as well as the McGill Certificate in Education for First Nations and Inuit.
The teaching diploma is the teacher’s legal qualification to work in schools where the language of instruction is Inuktitut. Graduates of the certificate program may apply for admission to the McGill B.Ed. for Certified Teachers program. Courses in the B.Ed. program are also offered in Inuktitut in Northern communities. For students who wish to study full-time, similar courses are offered in English at McGill University.