Element 1: Foundations and Current Status of American Indian Education
Purpose: To ensure educators working with American Indian students are aware of past efforts at improving the academic achievement of these students, the limited success of these efforts, and current federally funded Indian education programs
- Understand past efforts to assimilate Indians through English-only assimilationist schooling and the opposition Indians may show to efforts at forced assimilation.
- Know the lasting effects of the Indian New Deal of the 1930s on American Indian education.
- Understand the effects of the Indian Self-Determination and Civil Rights movements on American Indian education.
- Understand the relationship between Indian tribes, states, and the federal government's Bureau of Indian Education.
Activity 1: Understand the History of American Indian Education
Activity 2: Understand the Current Status of American Indian Education
Element 2: American Indian CulturesPurpose:
Educators will understand the great cultural diversity among American Indians, as well as some of their commonalities. Educators will understand:
- What makes someone an American Indian, and what is a tribe today?
- What is an extended family?
- What is the significance of traditional American Indian values, such as humility, interconnectedness, and reciprocity?
- What should all Americans know about American Indians?
Activity 1: Be Aware of Tribal and Family Structures
Activity 2: Understand American Indian Traditional Tribal Values
Element 3: Understanding Your School and CommunityPurpose:
Assessing American Indian students' academic performance and working with local tribes and other Indian organizations are necessary to develop culturally responsive teaching methods. Educators should:
- Examine current American Indian student test scores, attendance rates, and dropout rates;
- Work with tribes and community organizations; and
- Work with national American Indian organizations and the National Indian Education Association.
Activity 1: Take a Snapshot of Your School and Community
Activity 2: Work With and Involve Community and Parents
Task 2: Avoid Biased Teaching and Stereotypes
Guideline: Misperceptions of American Indians abound in western culture. Some such stereotypes have carried over into educational practices and curriculum. Images such as American Indians wearing feathers, living in a tipi, making whooping sounds, and being associated with Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims do not present children with an accurate portrayal of native people. For this reason, it is important for educators to study American Indians in a way that allows students to see the diversity and uniqueness of the individual tribes.
Teacher's Tool for Reflective Practice
From McREL, "this self-reflection journaling tool is intended to provide teachers and their colleagues with the opportunity to reflect on cultural differences between themselves and their students and to consider alternative interaction styles and contexts for learning."
Element 4: Use Culturally Responsive Teaching MethodologiesPurpose:
Some research suggests one reason for the achievement gap faced by American Indian students is cultural conflicts between American Indian homes and schools. Accordingly, culturally responsive teaching methodologies should address:
- American Indian learning styles;
- Indianizing curriculum;
- Ethnomathematics and ethnoscience;
- American Indian charter and magnet schools; and
- Language revitalization.
Activity 1: Helping American Indian Children to Learn
Activity 2: Integrate American Indian History and Culture into School Curriculum
Activity 3: The Role of American Indian Charter and Magnet Schools
Activity 4: Teaching Indigenous Languages