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ERIC Number: ED464784
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Pages: 43
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Tundra Is the Text: Using Alaska Native Contexts To Promote Cultural Relevancy in Teacher Professional Development.
Fickel, Letitia Hochstrasser; Jones, Ken
In summer 2000, the University of Alaska Anchorage and cooperating professional development schools organized four summer institutes to enhance teachers' cultural and subject matter knowledge. This dual focus was prompted by the new Alaska Content Standards and by guidelines for preparing culturally responsive teachers, developed by Alaska Native organizations. Each 2-week institute focused on a specific subject--science, mathematics, English/language arts, or social studies--as it related to the integrated theme of subsistence, and was taught in a rural Native village or a predominantly Native "hub town." Participants engaged in experiential learning activities, including learning from Native elders and other community members about traditional Native knowledge related to the subject matter. A culminating workshop brought all participants together to begin developing integrated curriculum units for the next school year. A qualitative study of the institutes' impact on teachers' learning and classroom practices combined naturalistic inquiry during the institutes and follow-up interviews with 16 of the 33 participants. The four institutes varied considerably in extent of participants' exposure to Native culture, but all institutes succeeded in creating communities of learners. Teacher interviews were analyzed in terms of three facets of culturally relevant teaching: social relations, conceptions of self and others, and conceptions of knowledge. All participants reported an expanded understanding of their subject matter. However, only teachers in the village institutes, who experienced cultural immersion in local Native contexts, made substantial changes in their classroom practices and approaches to Native students. (Contains 16 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alaska