YNTEP is a bachelor of education degree program in elementary education offered in partnership with the University of Regina. In 1973, the Council for Yukon Indians presented the Federal government of Canada a list of grievances and a pathway to reconciliation in the landmark document ‘Together Today for our Children Tomorrow’. A central premise of this profound document stressed that Yukon schools must teach the history of Yukon First Nations, traditional skills and ultimately must be relevant to First Nations students – honouring and validating First Nations rights, spirituality, language, culture, philosophy and pedagogy.
Born of this context, the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program (YNTEP) began in 1989 with the vision of Chief Elijah Smith, Elders, educators, and politicians across the Yukon. The program is part of an educational tradition that is committed to building educational practices and institutions that supports reconciliation as it pertains to Canada’s colonial context.
At YNTEP we strive to help teacher candidates become excellent teachers who are able to make the educational experience of their future students equitable, meaningful and transformative. Since its inception, the YNTEP program has sought to offer a decolonizing framework by which the recognition of Indigenous peoples rights, ways of knowing and methods of learning can be woven into the fabric of cutting edge teaching practices.
Most importantly, YNTEP is firmly rooted in the lived experience and tradition of northern First Nations. The program utilizes the expertise of Yukon educators working on First Nations curriculum development, experiential education models and language revitalization. Through the First Nations cultural and language courses, YNTEP interweaves cross-cultural theory, history and traditional skills and knowledge into the foundation of the entire program. The invaluable contribution of Yukon First Nations Elders and First Nations education experts are an integral element of the YNTEP learning environment.
The YNTEP program aims to:
- Increase the number of Yukon First Nations teachers within the territory;
- Provide high quality and accessible education, creative endeavors, and meaningful scholarly experiences in pursuit of local and global contributions to knowledge;
- Serve and engage a diversity of students, life-long learners and educational institutions, with particular emphasis on Yukon First Nation learners and global citizens;
- Offer a welcoming and rewarding academic and work environment for students, faculty, and staff; and
- Foster innovative learning, community engagement, and critical and independent thought.
Students are encouraged to convert theory into practice by applying what has been learned in courses to the field placement. Program specialization is in the language arts and Yukon First Nations education at the elementary school level.
As well, we expect that graduates will leave our program with:
- knowledge of current curriculum, instructional methods, assessment, and evaluation techniques, including child development;
- an ability and commitment to utilize a multicultural approach to the classroom with an emphasis on Yukon First Nations cultures to promote a better understanding of the unique nature of our northern communities;
- a willingness to learn about and share Yukon First Nations history, culture and educational challenges and successes in a manner respectful of local protocol;
- a familiarity with teaching in both urban and rural settings; and
- experiences in the practice of teaching through extensive student teaching opportunities offered throughout the program
In addition to these broad goals / outcomes, our program is unique in its ability to offer extended practicum placements within a rural context. We believe that this provides our students with an opportunity to develop skills and aptitudes that will enable them to be very successful teaching in a Northern context.