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Reports from the Field: Using Indigenous Research Practices to Transform Indigenous Literacy Education: A Canadian Study

Elizabeth M. Banister and Deborah L. Begoray
Journal of American Indian Education
Vol. 52, No. 1 (2013), pp. 65-80
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43608647
Page Count: 16
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Reports from the Field: Using Indigenous Research Practices to Transform Indigenous Literacy Education: A Canadian Study
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Abstract

Indigenous students face immense educational disadvantage in mainstream schooling which leads to a number of negative consequences for them as individuals and for their communities. Therefore, the issue of teaching literacy with principles derived from research informed by Indigenous ways of knowing is of critical importance. This article reviews adolescent literacy learning in general and the challenges faced especially by Indigenous students in Western classrooms. Next we discuss the importance of cultural sensitivity in literacy teaching and describe a literacy education program based on principles for teaching literacy to Indigenous students using Indigenous research practices. We found that Indigenous students need teachers who establish relationships with them; classroom activities that encourage active involvement, inclusion of their cultural background, power sharing in the classroom, and use of a variety of sign systems — especially oral and visual ones — in order to improve their literacy.

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