American Indian Education KnowledgeBase

The American Indian Education KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid education professionals in their efforts to serve American Indian students and close the achievement gap American Indian students have faced in public, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other schools.

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

Educators will:

  1. Understand past efforts to assimilate Indians through English-only assimilationist schooling and the opposition Indians may show to efforts at forced assimilation.
  2. Know the lasting effects of the Indian New Deal of the 1930s on American Indian education.
  3. Understand the effects of the Indian Self-Determination and Civil Rights movements on American Indian education.
  4. 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 Cultures

Purpose: Educators will understand the great cultural diversity among American Indians, as well as some of their commonalities. Educators will understand:
  1. What makes someone an American Indian, and what is a tribe today?
  2. What is an extended family?
  3. What is the significance of traditional American Indian values, such as humility, interconnectedness, and reciprocity?
  4. 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 Community

Purpose: 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 5: Instill Through Writing


Guideline: To do well in school, a student needs to write well. To become a good writer, it is important to practice writing. Students can develop their skills by writing about something they know, about themselves, and about their communities. An effective way to promote student writing that has been used with American Indian students is process writing. Process writing involves students working in groups to brainstorm writing ideas (prewriting), writing a rough draft, reviewing their and other students' drafts and doing revisions, editing their drafts for grammar and spelling, preparing a final draft for review by their teacher, and publishing their final work in some form. Educators working with native students need to be aware of engaging techniques to support their teaching methods.

National Writing Project

This link is to the National Writing Project website. As noted at its website, "The National Writing Project is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects."


Reading and Writing to Create Yourself

Authored by Dr. Jon Reyhner, Northern Arizona University, this article describes how American Indian students can be encouraged to practice and improve their writing skills.


Writing

This website contains resources on writing instruction from the National Council of Teachers of English. "The research, policy statements, and information collected here reflect the National Council of Teachers of English's commitment to improving writing instruction for all students."

Element 4: Use Culturally Responsive Teaching Methodologies

Purpose: 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