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part of the Education Reform Networks

Reading and the Native American Learner. Research Report

Intended as a resource for mainstream teachers, this document summarizes current research on effective ways for teachers to meet the educational needs of American Indian students in public schools. The first section discusses the history of U.S. governmental intervention in American Indian education, which influences how some American Indians view schools today. The second section examines current research and theory concerning Indian students' relatively low academic success. Cultural difference theory focuses on discontinuities between the cultures and languages experienced by students at home and in school, differences in learning styles, and resulting classroom miscommunication. The macrostructural explanation suggests that "involuntary minorities" such as American Indians interpret sociolinguistic discontinuities in school as institutional discrimination and view the standard language and behavior practices of the school as detrimental to their own group's culture and identity. The third section briefly discusses nonstandard forms of "Indian English." The fourth section addresses classroom implications. Teachers may adapt instruction to support a broad range of learning styles through strategies such as cooperative learning, multisensory instruction, and increased holistic emphasis. Teachers may also learn about their students' languages and cultures, address oppositional identity by integrating multicultural perspective into the curricula, and promote students' intrinsic motivation through relevant curricula. Indian student silence and parent participation are also discussed. The fifth section specifically addresses issues of reading instruction, including risk factors for reading difficulties, language development, reading comprehension, and standard English skills. An appendix reviews the history of federal Indian policy and the status of tribal governments. (Contains 155 references.) (SV)

  • Contributor: St. Charles, Joe, Costantino, Magda Corp Author Washington Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Olympia Office of Indian Education
  • Date Published: 06-00
  • Year: 2000

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