Publication Date: 2003-12-00
Author: Manuelito, Kathryn D
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools
Building a Native Teaching Force: Important Considerations. ERIC Digest.
Native teacher preparation programs provide an approach to improve the
RATIONALE FOR DEVELOPING A NATIVE TEACHING FORCE
The AI/AN population is approximately 2.5 million (AI/AN only) or 4.1 million (AI/AN in combination with one or more other race), with 37% under the age of 20 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001a; 2001b). In 2000, there were 1.2 million children and youth of school age (5-19 years), about 90% of whom attend public schools (Swisher & Tippeconnic, 1999).
Developing a Native teacher force is essential to helping meet the needs of this sizable group of AI/AN children for a number of evidence-based reasons:
* Learning is enhanced when teacher and student share the same language and culture (McCarty & Watahomigie, 1999; Erickson & Mohatt, 1982).
* Native teachers enhance the teacher-student relationship for Native
* Native teachers are important role models for Native youth (Cleary & Peacock, 1998; Kawagley, 1999).
* Native teachers provide "connectivity" to Native students' community
* Native teachers are likely to be aware of Native learning styles and
Presently, insufficient numbers of Native postsecondary students are
In the last 30 years, tribal universities, tribal colleges in partnership
Other teacher education programs that emphasize language and culture
are at Sitting
Additional challenges (outlined below) must be met in order to increase the number of Native teachers in schools serving Native students.
The assimilationist curriculum in teacher education programs and in
Lack of support in many Native communities. Native people, like other
There is often a gap between what Native people view as ideal and what
they view as realistically desirable (Cleary & Peacock, 1998; House,
2002). Too often Indian
Need for clarity in developing Native language and culture programs.
THE NATIVE EDUCATORS RESEARCH PROJECT
Presently some of these challenges are being examined in the Native
The three-year study, which began in 2001, is focusing on how language
The study addresses five key research questions:
1 What are the attitudes of Native preservice teachers toward the inclusion of language and culture in schooling?
2 How do teacher preparation programs impact these attitudes?
3 What are the standard components of programs that evidence their specific interest in meeting the needs of Native students?
4 What factors exist in the teaching environments to support or thwart teachers' efforts to incorporate language and culture or situate learning within the local context?
5 Do teachers perceive that students' learning, academic achievement,
Data have been collected related to the first three questions via the use of a survey (238 of 500 were returned, for a response rate of 46%). Other information about the teacher preparation programs was received through program progress reports, program proposals, and interviews with program administrators. The fourth and fifth questions will be investigated in the second and third years of the study.
Important background information to consider in reading survey results (reported below) include the following observations:
* Of the 27 programs reviewed, 10 are situated in colleges of education
* The mission statements for each program stress the intent to prepare
teachers to be responsive to the needs of Native students. Many specifically
articulate a focus on
* Nearly all of the programs used a combination of field-based and classroom learning.
Mentoring by instructors, community members, or classroom teachers was
Demographic profile. More than 80% of the respondents were female and nearly half were over the age of 30. Nearly half (48%) indicated they had prior experiences as an instructional aide.
Language and cultural aptitude or capability. Nearly half (45%) of respondents reported that they spoke their Native or tribal language, while 59% said they understood their Native or tribal language. About a third could write in their Native language; 42% could read it. More than half (56%) reported that they are "somewhat/very" to "very"knowledgeable about their own Native/tribal cultures and traditions.
Attitudes toward the inclusion of Native language and culture in schooling.
Professional preparation. Few respondents (26%) felt prepared to teach
Although 70% felt prepared to use cooperative/group instructional strategies,
only 40% felt "somewhat" or "well" prepared in the area of Native learning
Billy, C. (1999). A personal story: Race and education. Tribal College
Bowker, A. (1993). Sisters in the blood: The education of women in Native America. Newton, MA: Women's Educational Equity Act Publishing Center. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 363 486)
Cleary, L. M., & Peacock, T. D. (1998). Collected wisdom: American Indian education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 422 138)
Deyhle, D., & Swisher, K. G. (1997). Research in American Indian and Alaska Native Education: From assimilation to self-determination. In M. W. Apple (Ed.), Review of research in education (Vol. 22, pp. 113-194). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Erickson, F., & Mohatt, G. (1982). Cultural organization of participant structures in two classrooms of Indian students. In G. Spindler (Ed.), Doing the ethnography of schooling: Educational anthropology in action (pp. 132-174). New York: Holt, Rhinehart, & Winston.
Forbes, J. D. (2000). The new assimilation movement: Standards, tests,
Froelich, K., & Medearis, C. (1999). Sitting Bull's vision: A collaboration that works for our children. Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education, 11(2), 18-20.
House, D. (2002). Language shift among the Navajos: Identity politics
Kawagley, A. O. (1999). Alaska Native education: History and adaptation in the new millennium. Journal of American Indian Education, 39(1), 31-51.
Leei, L. (1999). Tribal college profile: Haskell graduate dreams of opportunity in new millennium. Tribal College Journal of American Higher Education, 11(2), 36.
McCarty, T. L., & Watahomigie, L. J. (1999). Indigenous community-based language education in the USA. In S. May (Ed.), Indigenous community-based education (pp. 79-94). Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters Ltd. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 432 435)
Pavel, D. M., Larrimore, C., & Van Alstine, M. J. (2003). A gift to all children: Native teacher preparation. In M. K. P. Ah Nee-Benham & W. J. Stein (Eds.), The renaissance of American Indian higher education: Capturing the dream (pp. 193-211). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 469 366)
Philips, S. U. (1983). The invisible culture: Communication in classroom and community on the Warm Springs Reservation. New York: Longman. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 226 878)
Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous
Swisher, K. G., & Tippeconnic III, J. W. (Eds.). (1999). Next steps:
U.S. Census Bureau. (2001a). Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics 2000. (Table DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000). Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2001b). Census 2000 Summary File 1. (Table 4. Population
by Race Alone or in Combination and Age for the United States: 2000). Washington,
Library Reference Search Web Directory
This site is (c) 2003-2005. All rights reserved.
Please note that this site is privately owned and is in no way related to any Federal agency or ERIC unit. Further, this site is using a privately owned and located server. This is NOT a government sponsored or government sanctioned site. ERIC is a Service Mark of the U.S. Government. This site exists to provide the text of the public domain ERIC Documents previously produced by ERIC. No new content will ever appear here that would in any way challenge the ERIC Service Mark of the U.S. Government.