ERIC Number: ED351163
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Voices of Native America: A Native American Community's Perception of Home/School Communication.
Cockrell, Karen Sunday
This study examined the process of parent-school communication from the perspective of Native American parents in a consolidated, rural school district. The multi-model qualitative study used participant observation, open-ended interviews, and document collection to focus on the relatively wealthy, rural consolidated district, encompassing three communities. The results show that Native American parents perceived communication with school personnel to be almost nonexistent. School personnel most often made contacts with parents for disciplinary or health-related reasons. Many Native American parents therefore viewed the nature of school contacts as hostile and discriminatory. They believed the communication process flowed one way: from school administrators to parents. Differences in communication styles also hindered communication. The data produced five perceived types of communication barrier: (1) distrust of schools among Native Americans; (2) racial tension; (3) maintenance of tribal identity; (4) Native American dependency on government; and (5) Native community's isolation from the community at large. Beliefs, attitudes, and educators' actions are more influential on education and the communication process than school financing. An ethnocentric cultural view, as it is imposed upon educational institutions, prevents inclusion of culturally different people. Native Americans should be actively engaged in the identification of educational problems and the search for solutions. (TES)
Descriptors: Administrators, American Indian Culture, American Indian Education, Communication Problems, Cultural Differences, Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Intercultural Communication, Parent Attitudes, Parent Participation, Parent School Relationship, Qualitative Research, Rural Schools, Tribal Sovereignty
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Native Americans
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).