ERIC Number: ED427908
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
The Native American Learner and Bicultural Science Education.
Cajete, Gregory A.
Explanations of natural phenomena within a traditional Native American context are often at odds with Western scientific philosophy and what is taught in school science. Herein lies a very real conflict between two distinctly different worldviews: the mutualistic/holistic-oriented worldview of Native American cultures and the rationalistic/dualistic worldview of Western science that divides, analyzes, and objectifies. General tendencies in Native learning styles include a predominantly nonverbal orientation; tendency toward visual, spatial, and kinesthetic modes of learning; heavy reliance on visual perception and memory; preference for movement and activity while learning; and preference for process learning that moves from concrete examples to abstractions. In the typical school environment, free movement is significantly restricted and indirect intellectual learning, which emphasizes verbal, mathematical, and logical orientations, is the norm. The disparity between home and school environments is so great that some Native American students experience a kind of culture shock that significantly affects their attitudes toward school. Recognizing that a cultural difference in affective learning style exists between the home and school environment is an important step toward developing more creative and effective teaching strategies for Native learners. Teachers can foster a bicultural orientation to education by exploring students' home and cultural backgrounds, observing students in the school context, and exploring students' expressions of core values. Contains references in endnotes and a bibliography. (TD)
Descriptors: American Indian Education, Cognitive Style, Cultural Differences, Culturally Relevant Education, Educational Needs, Educational Philosophy, Elementary Secondary Education, Experiential Learning, Holistic Approach, Indigenous Knowledge, Multicultural Education, Science Instruction, Social Bias, Social Values, Teaching Methods, World Views
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A