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ERIC Number: ED439878
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar-10
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Working with Navajo Special Education Students on the Reservation: Cultural Implications.
Watt, Carolyn; Sorgnit, Heather; Medina, Catherine; Jennings, Marianne; Heimbecker, Connie; Gonnie, Pat; Dugi, Audrelia; Bowsley, Virginia; Prater, Greg
A study in the Kayenta Unified School District (Arizona) on the Navajo Nation--the largest reservation in the United States--examined cultural and language barriers in teaching Navajo special education students. Questionnaires were returned from 26 teachers at all grade levels, and interviews were conducted with 5 teachers and the district curriculum director. Results indicate that teachers' perceptions about teaching students with disabilities did not vary appreciably for Navajo versus non-Navajo students. Aside from a Navajo oral language test, standardized assessments specifically geared to Navajo students were not available. Two of the greatest challenges that affected educators on the Navajo Reservation were the isolated environment and the language barrier. Many misunderstandings arise from the different communication patterns of Navajos and Anglos, and many taboos and beliefs can interfere with conventional teaching methods. Most respondents felt that the school district could do more to introduce incoming teachers to Navajo cultural beliefs and taboos. The Navajo people's desire to maintain the values of their traditional culture is basically incompatible with those attributes necessary to excel in Anglo society, such as competitiveness, assertiveness, impatience, and restlessness--qualities that the Navajo people have generally rejected as unworthy. Results include recommendations for non-Navajo teachers' approaches related to culture and language. (TD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A