Four Hundred Years of Evidence: Culture, Pedagogy, and Native America

Drawing from several major historical Native American education successes, Professor Roland Tharp proposes and supports seven "Standards for Effective Pedagogy" that are applicable to all students, not just Native American students. The standards are: 

  1. Joint Productive Activity: Teacher and students producing together; facilitate learning through joint activity among teacher and students.
  2. Developing Language and Literacy across the Curriculum: Develop competence in the language and literacy of instruction in all content areas.
  3. Teaching in Context: Connect teaching and curriculum to experiences and skills of students’ home and community.
  4. Teaching Complex Thinking: Challenge students toward cognitive complexity.
  5. Instructional Conversation: Engage students through dialogue.
  6. Modeling and Demonstration: Learning Through Observation.
  7. Student Directed Activity—Encourage Student Decision Making. 
Content Comments 

The purposes of this article are well defined and generally met, utilizing a methodology appropriate for the purpose. The author illustrates, using two specific examples, that Native American education has seen its greatest success when it was devoid of public school instruction. Tharp's instructional standards, therefore, focus on activities plus the personal experiences and skills that students bring to the classroom, as opposed to a more standardized curriculum. Communications quality of the article is typical for a research paper; that is, the author uses a substantial number of academic terms. Utility should be quite reasonable, especially because Tharp's proposed standards are aligned to current concepts of student-based instruction, rather than teacher- or textbook-based instruction.