ERIC Number: ED199761
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Strategies for Teaching Composition to Native Americans.
Although the needs of American Indian college students in writing classes are very similar to those of Anglo basic writers, Indian writers often bring cultural and linguistic differences into the writing classroom. Indians are oriented only in the present, which affects their use of verb constructions; they are oriented toward sharing, which affects their use of possessive forms; they have a cultural respect for age and authority, which makes their classroom manner appear shy or inattentive; their relationship with nature is harmonious, which precludes careful arrangement of thoughts and the concepts of compare and contrast and cause and effect; and their world is cooperative rather than competitive, necessitating group classroom activities. Those teaching writing to Indian students need to be tolerant of language and grammar errors and to allow students to explore the language. They must teach students that "getting off the subject" is an essential part of the writing process. They should avoid assignments that reflect white, middle class values. Students should have opportunities to explore different audiences, with letter and journal writing and literary response assignments. Above all, the course should be taught holistically. Breaking grammar, sentence structure, paragraph and essay writing into modules runs contrary to Indians' holistic approach to life. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).