Teaching, English, First Nations Studies
SFU English's MATE Program focuses on Aboriginal Literature
By Diane Luckow
In 1847 George Copway became the first Aboriginal person to write and publish a book in Canada. An Anishinaabe from Rice Lake, Ont., his autobiography is just one of the interesting Indigenous books and films to be studied during a special cohort of SFU’s Master of Arts for Teachers of English (MATE) program, which began this month.
The two-year, full-time program is offered through SFU’s Department of English for high school English teachers wishing to earn a graduate degree. This year, for the first time, the program focuses on Aboriginal literature.
Professor Deanna Reder hopes this new emphasis will encourage more English teachers to teach English 12 First Peoples, an alternative academic English course for all students that was incorporated into the B.C. high school curriculum in 2008.
“Even though it’s intended to bring in Indigenous content as an alternative, it is rarely taught in B.C., likely because most teachers feel ill-prepared to teach it,” says Reder.