ERIC Number: ED427919
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Preparing Teachers for Rural Alaska.
Sharing Our Pathways, v4 n1 p1-3 Jan-Feb 1999
This article discusses preparing teachers to teach in rural Alaska. An anecdote illustrates how outsiders who come to work in rural Alaska get into trouble because they are unprepared for conditions unique to the North. These conditions end up being viewed as impediments rather than opportunities. The same is true for the field of education. Of 2,368 teachers in rural Alaskan schools, nearly one-third are new to their positions. This compares with about 12 percent of teachers new to their jobs in urban schools. While rural schools employ only one-third of all teachers in the state, they typically hire over two-thirds of the new teachers each year, most of whom originate outside of Alaska. That means that Alaskan preservice programs touch only a small percentage of teachers working in Alaska. In rural Native communities, the proportion of Alaska Native teachers is growing but is still a long way from appropriate local representation. This is all the more critical in that many rural school reform initiatives are dependent on the professional involvement of people knowledgeable about the local culture and environment. In-depth cross-cultural orientation and mentoring programs are needed by all teachers new to rural Alaska. The internship period could include such activities as a cultural orientation program in a week-long camp with local Elders as instructors; pairing each new teacher with an Elder in the community and a respected experienced teacher in the school; and a program of study based on the "Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools." (CDS)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, Beginning Teacher Induction, Beginning Teachers, Cross Cultural Training, Educational Needs, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Internship Programs, Mentors, Preservice Teacher Education, Rural Schools, Teaching Conditions
Web site: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks.
Identifiers - Location: Alaska