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ERIC Number: ED407202
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
School Success in Cultural Context: Conversations at Window Rock. Preliminary Report.
McInerney, Dennis M.; And Others
The goal theory of achievement motivation maintains that the goals stressed by schools influence children's self-efficacy and willingness to try hard. This paper examines the applicability of goal theory to a Navajo school and community and widens the focus to encompass a range of potential culturally relevant goals. Interviews were conducted at Window Rock High School on the Navajo Reservation (Arizona) with 20 students in grades 8-12, 10 Navajo community members, and 9 Navajo teachers. In general, interviewees believed that school-based education is important in that it assists students to develop self-sufficiency and competitive skills that will ultimately benefit the community. However, competitiveness is not regarded as merely a desire to win at all costs; it is tempered by a strong sense of affiliation to the Navajo group in that individual achievement is not sought at the expense of the community. Student motivation to do well at school was strongly linked with social concern and affiliation. Overwhelmingly, parents and extended family were the prime referent groups in influencing student progress at school. A generally supportive home environment was seen as essential for educational success. The most frequently cited inhibitors of school motivation were family substance abuse, gang behavior, student substance abuse, and pregnancy. Respondents scrutinized the Inventory of School Motivation, agreed that all items and scales were relevant to the Navajo educational context, but offered differing Navajo perspectives on the items measuring competitiveness and group leadership. The results suggest that Navajo and Western cultures share many similar values related to education. Contains 25 references and interview excerpts. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A