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ERIC Number: ED370098
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching in the Borderlands: On Not Being Kevin Costner in a Native American Centered Classroom.
Dalager, Steve
For completely unexpected reasons, a first-year teaching assistant's writing-across-the-curriculum composition course linked with the Indian Studies department at the University of North Dakota turned out to be a profound teaching/learning experience for him and his students. An important dynamic in the class was its unprecedented cultural balance--five of the students were Indian, and seven were white. Indian students are usually culturally alone in the classroom when they attempt to educate themselves outside of the Indian community. Indian students often find themselves alone in the "contact zone" (social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other). The most intimate of these contact zones is the composition classroom. A female student, a Chippewa and Metis, was extremely reticent in class for the first 6 weeks, and only began to speak out and set the class straight on some points of Chippewa/Metis history when the only other Chippewa/Metis student was absent. While the female student continued to be a full participant in the class, it remained a difficult thing for her to do. The dynamics of the class allowed all students, white and Indian, elements of "safehousing within the realm of the contact zone." Towards the end of the semester, the instructor's suggestion of meeting in culturally separate groups drew passionate responses from all quarters--the majority did not want to jeopardize what they had gained in the contact zone. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A