College Fund Research

Incorporating the culture of American Indian/Alaska Native students in the classroom

May 8, 2014

Focus group interviews were conducted with educators and stakeholders for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students, including teachers, elementary and high school principals, tribal community leaders, and parents, to determine a global definition of culture and ways of infusing culture into curriculum to better educate AI/AN students. Focus group participants were selected from the surrounding areas of Portland, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Yakama, Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; and Pembroke, North Carolina. A total of 53 participants were interviewed across the seven locations. Using a cross-case analysis approach, the emergent themes are as follows:

  1. Traditional definition of culture
  2. Contemporary (i.e., AI/AN youth) definition of culture (as perceived by the study participants)
  3. Infusing culture into pedagogy; and
  4. Teacher responsibility and state standards.

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