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ERIC Number: EJ794261
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 22
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8731
From a Place Deep inside: Culturally Appropriate Curriculum as the Embodiment of Navajo-ness in Classroom Pedagogy
Yazzie-Mintz, Tarajean
Journal of American Indian Education, v46 n3 p72-93 2007
Three Navajo teachers' conceptions of culturally appropriate curriculum and pedagogy highlight the benefits of reflective practice within different educational and school contexts. Each teacher provides a way of thinking about culturally appropriate curriculum, and its implementation in classroom practice for different Navajo students. The ways in which these teachers acknowledge the influence of being Navajo allows us to see why each chooses to teach and to know from where her inspiration comes. This study of the three Navajo teachers brings to the larger discussion of culturally appropriate pedagogy the need to consider the cultural knowledge, referred to as "Navajoness," that the teacher brings to the classroom context. Navajoness, a way of being or familiarity with being a Navajo person, appears to provide Navajo teachers with the knowledge and ability to make immediate connections between knowledge in school and home contexts. Further, Navajo teachers have an initial foundation from which to build strong content and cultural knowledge with students, bridging a perceived knowledge gap between home and school. At the center of the research are the following questions: Can any teacher "just teach" without acknowledging and responding to the teaching and learning context? What does a teacher have to know and what actions must be taken in order to create an engaging learning opportunity for students? Exploring the concept of Navajoness is an important part of considering what might be culturally appropriate for building an educational program that responds to the knowledge that students and teachers bring with them to the classroom context. Researchers and educators are asked to examine more deeply the conceptions that teachers hold in the areas of content, Navajo culture, and mainstream culture, and are encouraged to make frequent links between what is theorized and what occurs in everyday classroom pedagogy.
Center for Indian Education. Arizona State University, College of Education, P.O. Box 871311, Tempe, AZ 95287-1311. Tel: 480-965-6292; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A