Some points to be considered when teaching Native Americans:
- Be aware of their background, knowledge, and experiences.
- Get to know each person. This may take time but once a relationship is established which involves trust then the individual is more receptive to learning and more willing to participate. He will do better with the understanding that his teacher cares. Trust is an integral part of the relationship.
- One-to-one help. At the beginning, some may be reluctant to ask questions but through the trust building relationship and time they will open up and be more willing to share and ask questions. Some may not be as verbal as non-Native Americans.
- When teaching concepts use examples that are relevant to their lifestyles and/or com munities. It helps to have some background information about the tribe(s) of the indi vidual. They come with varying backgrounds and experi ences.
- Use all modes (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) when teaching concepts and skills. Use visual aids, drawings, illustrations or demonstrations, and do not limit ac tivities to worksheets and lectures.
- Role playing can be utilized provided that the teacher feels comfortable in using it. At the beginning, students may appear shy and may not be willing or be hesitant to par ticipate, but with time they will take part although perhaps not to the extent of some non-Native Americans. This depends on the background of individuals. The person who is more acculturated may be more verbal than a more traditional student. Become familiar with and know your students, then they will be more apt to open up and participate.
- In the beginning have them work in small groups and slowly bring the small groups together into a larger group. This allows students to get to know others and feel more comfortable.
- If they do not understand concepts, try another method of reteaching the concepts. Sometimes, the concept may be difficult because of the vocabulary.
- Teachers need to make sure students understand when concepts are being taught by asking questions. This allows for feedback before introducing a new concept.
- When reteaching a concept that involves reading, have them paraphrase a paragraph that they have read and ask to see if there are any words in the paragraph that they do not understand. It is usually the vocabulary that makes it difficult, especially in a sub ject area that is totally new to an individual. Use lots of examples and pictures in teach ing concepts to make sure they understand.
- Some individuals may not be direct when they ask questions which could be inter preted as hinting. This may be because they do not want to appear pushy, persistent, or demanding. This may also be due to the individual not wanting to make a mistake or making sure he is doing the right thing.
- Allow wait-time for responses. If they know their native language and use it on a daily basis at home they may have to process the information in their native language and think how they will respond in English. They may also want to make sure their answer is correct.
- Use praise and incentives. Some prefer not to be recognized in front of their peers. But they will take and enjoy praises and incentives if given one-on-one.
- Be aware of body language. Become aware of their comfort level. Some may not mind the closeness as compared to others who may want their space.
- Present the whole picture of a concept before isolating skills/concepts. It is much easier to see the complete picture or the end result, the individual will then know what the concept is leading up to or the end result.
- Allow brainstorming and get input from everyone. Ask open-ended questions which will allow for input from the group.
- The preferred classroom arrangement, if desks are used,is circular. Allow space for freedom of movement and group activities. If there is not room for a circle, desks may be grouped in two's or fours' instead of rows.
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