ERIC Number: ED343764
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching through Traditions: Incorporating Native Languages and Cultures into Curricula.
Ethnocentrism has permeated the European-American educational establishment for nearly 500 years. Native students have been subjected to a barrage of assimilation tactics designed to destroy their cultures and languages. Only 206 Native languages remain (about a third of the original number), and about 50 of these are near extinction. Language destruction promotes cultural disintegration. Among the factors contributing to the poor academic achievement of Native students are cultural differences between home and school, ignorance of Native culture among school staff, differences in language and values between teachers and students, culturally based Native learning styles, and culturally biased testing. Community participation and community control of education are critical to developing culturally relevant curricula and making education responsive to Native students' needs. Communities and educators can draw on the experiences of other tribes that have developed successful programs incorporating the local linguistic and cultural context. Other strategies include: community involvement in curriculum revision and instructional materials selection; tribal education codes and board of education policies that are consistent with state and federal goals; textbook review; teacher education programs that prepare teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations; integrating Native history into the core curriculum; encouraging participation of elders and intergenerational learning experiences; and empowering students to become environmental stewards. This paper contains 56 references. (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Culture, American Indian Education, American Indian History, American Indian Languages, American Indians, Bilingual Education, Cultural Education, Educational Strategies, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Legislation, Language Maintenance, Language of Instruction
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC. Indian Nations At Risk Task Force.
Authoring Institution: N/A