On Thursday March 30, 2017, the Master Apprenticeship Program participants from across the province met in Truro to share their experiences.
The Master Apprenticeship Program was an opportunity for a language apprentice (learner) to be paired with a language master for 100 hours in order to learn the Mi’kmaw Language in a one on one setting.
During their meeting the participants shared their goal coming into the project, where their learning happened and what they focussed on during their learning. Everyone had different stories and techniques that they used. They shared their successes and struggles.
"To do this program you really have to be comfortable with the person you're working with,” explained Jasmine Mas’l. “You have to throw your pride away and not be afraid to be wrong.”
They discussed how they felt about being corrected. Some felt that the tone of the person correcting them really mattered. If someone is sarcastic about it, it didn't work. Others felt that because humour is such a big part of the Mi’kmaq culture, it was also helpful during the learning experience. They shared a caution with this though saying that some people have shame over losing that part of their culture so having someone laughing at them for their mistakes when speaking might make things worse.
Almost all of the feedback from participants was very positive and insightful;
“This program made me really aware how I struggle to use the language. I often choose to use English even though I think in Mi'kmaw. Sometimes there aren't words for things and I had to substitute actions for words.”
“I needed more time. It was a lot to fit in in 2 months. I want it to continue.”
“Making mistakes are part of learning. I know that being corrected is a part of trying.”
As far as the program continuing, funding has been applied for. Notification of approval will happen some time this spring. This time there are hopes to include up to 15 groups for 400 hours and it will start in August and end in March.
“Regardless of what route people chose to take in their learning, everyone was so dedicated,” said Blaire Gould, Mi’kmaw Language Consultant. “I feel like the program was so successful.”