Culturally Appropriate Curriculum: A Research-Based Rationale

This chapter examines theoretical and practical research studies that support and inform the development of culturally appropriate curriculum for American Indian children in K–12 classrooms. These studies fall into the following areas: (1) historical roots, including the Meriam Report of 1928; (2) theoretical frameworks (modes of linguistic interaction, supportive learning environments, communication and interaction styles of students and teachers); (3) curriculum development (approaches to overcome culture conflict, parent and community involvement, inquiry-based curriculum, role of Native language in concept development, local community issues, appropriate communication with elders); (4) curriculum practice and implementation (characteristics and behaviors of effective teachers, teacher role); and (5) implications for educational research and practice.

Content Comments 

This chapter is one of a volume, edited by Karen Swisher and John Tippeconnic, focusing on research and practice in American Indian education. The author begins with a review of the historical contexts that shape the theoretical frameworks for viewing instructional supports for American Indian (AI) students. The bulk of the chapter covers the considerations for educators in developing and implementing classroom curriculum for AI students. The chapter stands alone as a substantive overview of the issues and implications for identifying successful instructional strategies for AI students and for putting them into practice. It is accessible to teachers and administrators, as well as researchers, and the author clearly defines potentially ambiguous ideas, such as “culture” or “curriculum.” However, this is not a guidance document or tool, in that it does not provide steps or recommendations, but provides context for the types of considerations that should be made in the decision-making process.