2020-2021 Catalog

Native Language Teacher Education

Associate of Science Degree (A.S.) (171 credits)

Program Description

The Salish language(s) on the Flathead Reservation are greatly threatened. According to local surveys and Se̓liš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee (SQCC) data, less than 15 fluent speakers remain with the majority of them being over the age of 70. Only three to four of these speakers are actively involved in teaching the language. Additionally, many who are language speakers, or are acquiring the language(s) and are interested in teaching have not received training in pedagogical, classroom management and/or cultural mindset, and other educational strategies required to teach the language effectively. Simultaneously, many highly qualified educators have not been able to learn the language(s) at the level needed to teach the language(s) effectively.

The purpose of the Native Language Teacher Education (NLTE) Program and current Salish Language Educator Development (SLED) specialization is to prepare and graduate professionals who are working towards fluency in the Salish language and demonstrate the ability to teach that language to students from preschool through adulthood. This program is designed to meet the critical need for Native language teachers who are both working toward fluency in their language and are skilled in teaching. Key features of the program include an emphasis on educational practices that sustain and revitalize Salish language and culture, as well as multiple opportunities for practicum experiences in which teacher candidates participate in observing, teaching, and reflecting upon these experiences with young students.

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be prepared to work as Salish Language Teachers in Native language immersion schools, public school classrooms (P-12), and/or other private schools in which a Class 7 Certification or an associate’s degree meets the qualifications. Successful Associate degree graduates may choose to continue their education to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education P-3 or Elementary Education. 

Program Objectives

The Salish Language Teacher Education Program is designed to provide the following components:

  • First and second language acquisition, dual language learning, and immersion
  • Teaching literacy in native language contexts
  • Methods of teaching in a native language setting (e.g., Dual Language Learning, Immersion)
  • Multicultural education including teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse settings
  • Assessment and curriculum development in DLL/Immersion settings
  • Reading and research in foundations of education related to the education of culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • Use of instructional technology for teaching first and second languages and content areas
  • Phonology, morphology, and syntax of Salish language in addition to English

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate proficiency communicating through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in both Salish and English.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of Salish history and culture considering political, social, economic, and sovereign factors.
  • Effectively employ knowledge of language acquisition theory and application to educational practice.
  • Plan, implement, and assess instruction for linguistically and culturally diverse students utilizing DLL and immersion strategies.
  • Communicate effectively with students, parents, and others in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, especially Salish communities.
  • Critically assess and evaluate student, program, and self performance.
  • Establish and apply an understanding of intercultural competency, including tribal values, to ensure appropriate ways of being and building respectful relationships within language learning and immersion settings.


Students must submit to a federal background check for all Education Programs.

Students must receive a "C" or better in all required courses while maintaining an overall grade point average of 2.5 in order to graduate.