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Teaching Strategies for the Native American Student. Sarah Helene Iverson Marty Indian School High School Special Education Teacher. Anpetu Waste. Who Am I: Background. Middle and High School Special Education Teacher, Marty Indian School Adjunct Instructor, Ihanktonwan Community College

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teaching strategies for the native american student

Teaching Strategies for the Native American Student

Sarah Helene Iverson

Marty Indian School

High School Special Education Teacher

who am i background
Who Am I: Background
  • Middle and High School Special Education Teacher, Marty Indian School
  • Adjunct Instructor,

Ihanktonwan Community College

  • Junior and High School Special Education Paraprofessional, Andes Central School
  • Instructor,

Indiana State University

who have i taught
Who Have I Taught
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Saudi Arabian
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Sioux
  • Ojibwa
  • Nigerian
  • South American
part 1 not what you think
Part 1: Not What You Think
  • Relationship
  • Trust
  • Ownership
  • Expectation
part 2 let s see
Part 2: Let’s see
  • Strategies
  • CAPD
  • Practical thoughts
  • 1990-66% of American Indians had completed high school compared to 75% total population
  • 1990-9% had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 20% total population
  • 3% held graduate degrees

compared to 7% of the total population

  • 1992-56% dropout for American Indians

(Ness, & Huisken, 2002)

more statistics
More Statistics
  • White, non-Hispanic 7.3%
  • Black, non-Hispanic 10.9%
  • Hispanic 27.0%
  • Hispanic born outside US 43.4%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander 3.6%
  • Native American Dropout 57.0%

(National Center for Education Statistics, 2004. Dropout Rates in the United States: 2001.)

no straight row desks
No Straight Row Desks
  • These students do not learn like we

were taught!

  • Think outside the box!
  • Ownership
what a study told us
What a study told us
  • Get to know students
  • Learn what they like to do
  • Build Relationships
  • Patience

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

raising self esteem gilliand
Raising Self-Esteem (Gilliand)
  • Accepting class environment
  • Expecting all to succeed
  • Emphasize strengths
  • Give students respect
  • Include Native American literature, art,

culture and values

  • Giving students pride in their people

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

building relationships
Building Relationships
  • “For students and adults from poverty, the primary motivation for their success will be in their relationships.”
  • “If your school or work setting presently affords few opportunities for building relationships, find ways to establish natural connections that will enable this vital resource to take root and grow.”

(Payne, 1996)

a good resource
A Good Resource
  • Why are Students Unmotivated?
  • Using This Book Most Effectively
  • What Educators Can Do: Five Key Processes That Motivate
  • Emphasizing Effort
  • Creating Hope
  • Respecting Power
  • Building Relationships
  • Expressing Enthusiasm
  • The Challenge of Changing Lives

(Mendler, 2000)

use humor
Use Humor
  • I am certain that I will turn my work in on time.
  • Unless I am distracted by winning the lottery or something as big, my work will be there tomorrow.
  • I plan to turn my work in unless my arms fall off overnight.

I plan to blow off this assignment and use my brain cells to make up a good excuse about why it didn’t get done.

There isn’t a chance that my work will get done, but I will make no excuses and will completely accept the consequences of my actions.

(Mendler, 2000)

offer genuine compliments
Offer Genuine Compliments
  • Students can see the fake ones a mile away.
  • Corrective feedback will be beneficial when done in a positive complimentary way.

(Mendler, 2000)

use 2 minute intervention
Use 2-minute intervention
  • Set aside time if all possible every day.
  • The purpose is for continued relationship building.

(Mendler, 2000)

share stories of yourself
Share Stories of Yourself
  • Share similar struggles from their age and currently
  • May help them understand how others found way into world.

(Mendler, 2000)

central auditory processing disorder
Central Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Auditory Processing is “what the brain does with what it hears”
  • Usually normal hearing and intelligence
  • Can occur with hearing impairment

and other disorders (autism, ADD, dyslexia, PDD, etc.)

(Olive, 2008)

  • Unknown
  • Possibly middle ear infections

(most common illness in children between birth to 3 years of age)

(Olive, 2008)

  • Gives inappropriate responses to questions or in conversations
  • Asks for repetitions of what has been said
  • Has difficulty:
    • Listening for very long
    • Screening out background noise
    • Remembering what they hear
    • Following simple or complicated directions

(Olive, 2008)

  • Takes longer to understand and respond to verbal information
  • Speech and language delays
  • Academic problems
  • Low Self-esteem

(Olive, 2008)

  • Auditory memory practice (younger students)
  • Auditory trainer or FM system
  • Classroom modifications

(Olive, 2008)

classroom modifications
Classroom Modifications
  • Preferential seating
  • Use visual materials to supplement verbal instruction (outlines, writing on the board)
  • Encourage note taking and self-advocacy (asking questions) (Olive, 2008)
  • Changes in Instructional Delivery Style
    • Repeat or paraphrase important information
    • Speak at a slightly slower rate and use more expression
    • Make eye contact or gain attention
    • Use simpler, shorter sentences
    • Use brief pauses to break up long messages
    • Check for Comprehension

(Olive, 2008)

what we know
What We Know
  • Informal classroom, teachers act as facilitators
  • Democratic principles and consequences as effective classroom management styles
  • Collaborative processes
  • Dialogue, open-ended questioning, and inductive reasoning
  • Holistic learners (whole-to part)
  • Visual learning strategies

(Starnes, 2006)

reflective processing
Reflective Processing
  • Allows students to integrate new knowledge into old and to build new learning out of prior knowledge. This requires a relaxed atmosphere and ample time to accomplish this. This same process is true for decision making processes as well.

(Starnes, 2006)

reasons why students are not always engaged
Reasons why Students are not Always Engaged
  • Failure to have a task
  • Students waiting for an activity
  • Sharpening or finding a pencil
  • Students walking around or out of their seats
  • Announcements over the public address system
  • Transitioning from one activity to the next
  • Visiting with others or talking
  • Materials not prepared for the activity
  • Playing in desk
  • Students being called out of the room

(Smits, 2000)

data shows
Data shows…
  • Give attention to the
    • Positive behaviors
    • Positive Performances
    • Interactions of students

Student engagement in learning can significantly increase

(Smits, 2000)

basis foundation
Basis Foundation
  • Ground the students in their culture
  • People-centered, group-centered culture
  • Cooperation and sharing
  • Extended family
  • Spirituality and health
  • Do not like to be “put on the spot”
  • Not stand out

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

need to remember
Need to remember
  • Students need to see the connection between what they are learning in

school and what they need to

know to be a valuable member

of their tribe and community

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

inspire students to achieve full potential
Inspire students to achieve full potential
  • Accepting humor
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Emphasizing strengths
  • Helping students set goals
  • Developing a plan to reach those goals
  • Challenging students
  • Reinforcing effort were recommended

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

three important considerations
Three Important Considerations
  • Instructional Strategies
    • Math-direct instruction
    • Physical and social sciences-constructivist methods
  • Teachers (both Native and non-Native) need to infuse aspects of Indigenous culture tied to state testing standards
  • Know important facts or just gain knowledge

(Study Tells How to Best Teach native Students, 2008)

what teachers have seen work
What Teachers have seen work
  • Look for good points before negative
  • Accept differences
  • Enjoy cultural mix
  • Get to know students
  • Believe in students
  • Make them feel safe

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

  • Understand issues
  • Do not be intimidated
  • Patience
  • Ask for help
  • Accept help
  • Find support in teachers you are comfortable with

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

  • High expectations
  • Remember direct eye contact may not happen
  • Keep exploring
  • You are seen for who you are
  • Love children like your own
  • Parents, guardians and tribal leaders

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

  • Flexible with lesson plans
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Discipline and classroom management

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

  • S-Smile
  • T-Take a deep breath
  • A-And
  • R-Relax

(Sorknes, & Kelting-Gibson, 2007)

so what does this all mean
So what does this all mean
  • Be flexible
  • Be prepared
  • Be real
  • Be patient
  • Be able to learn
  • Be willing to ask
  • Be an excellent listener
  • Dropout Rates in the United States: 2001
  • Mendler, A. N. (2000). Motivating students who don’t care: Successful techniques for educators. Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree.
  • N.A. (2008, Fall). Study tells how to best teach Native students. Tribal College, 20(1), 69-70.
  • National Center for Education Statistics, 2004.
  • Ness, J. E., & Huisken, J. S. (2202). Expanding the circle. University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Institute on Community Integration.
  • Olive, J. (2008). CAPDinservice. Marty Indian School.
  • Payne, R. K., PhD. (1996). A framework for understanding poverty. (4th ed.). Highlands, Texas: aha! Process, Inc.
  • Sorknes, H. L., & Kelting-Gibson, L. (2007, Winter). Effective teaching strategies for engaging Native American students. Journal of Intercultural Disciplines. 7, 108-125.
  • Smits, M. T. (2000). Overcoming the effects of poverty on Native American children: The relationship between the learning environment and student engagement. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Doctoral Dissertation.
  • Starnes, B. A. (2006, January). What we don’t know can hurt them: White teachers, Indian children. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(5), 384-392.