Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Outsider teacher/insider knowledge: Fostering Mohawk cultural competency for non -Native teachers
by Williams, Sharon, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2010, 283; 3395373
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation study provided mainstream teachers in a reservation border town community with experiences that moved them towards Mohawk cultural competency through participatory action research. This study is intended to further the efforts towards creating inclusive schools that more fully support Native students. Specifically, the research documents how a group of Native and non-Native educators envisioned and developed Mohawk cultural competency professional development. One aspect of the research was to study the interactions between Native and non-Native stakeholders in an effort to make the Mohawk community and mainstream schooling more understandable to one another.

Similar to national statistics, Mohawk students in the Farmingdale Central School District scored lower on standardized measures of achievement and had a significantly higher drop-out rate when compared with their non-Native counterparts. Research suggests that teachers' lack of cultural knowledge and understanding may be a critical factor in Native students' academic underachievement. While challenges exist in creating effective professional development, well-developed programs have been shown to help establish more trusting relationships between schools and Native communities. However, university and school-based programs in cultural competency need to be expanded to meet student needs. This research project fills this gap in the research and field of education.

In order to examine and address the cultural disconnect between the Mohawk community and this off-reservation school district, ethnographic, qualitative research methodologies including in-depth interviewing, participant observation, focus group, qualitative survey, and document analysis were utilized. The project culminated with the production of a professional development program intended for district implementation. This research study also developed a model for cultural competency professional development entitled the Developmental Trajectory of Understanding, with implications for other schools serving Native students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Larson, Joanne
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Teacher education, Curriculum development, Native American studies
Keywords: Culturally relevant pedagogy, Indigenous education, Mohawk, Native American education, Non-Native teachers, Professional development
Publication Number: 3395373
ISBN: 978-1-109-64143-1
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