Monday, November 17, 2008

Should we reconsider our educational system

A few weeks ago in my "Native Studies," college class, we read an article describing educational methods. This particular article is called "Creating a Place for Indigenous Knowledge in Education" written by Ray Barnhardt. (For full article see: The main point in this article is describing reintegrating "native ways of knowing" into todays school curriculum. The indigenous knowledge system that sustained Alaska Natives for thousands of years, isnot being taught today. "Pedagogy of place," is an important phrase used in this article. It basically means that the school systems are teaching things that are fairly illrelavent to native students. They also need to learn things that pertain to where they live, and their environment. A direct quote from the article says, "All serve as a pedagogy of place that shifts the emphasis from teaching about local culture to teaching through the culture as students learn about the immediate places they inhabit and their connection to the larger world within which they will make a life for themselves." Barnhardt would like to reintegrate Native ideals such as traditional values, cultural atlases, experimental learning, and so on.
Another important phrase in the article is "living in two worlds." The Barnhardt describes how present day Native people live in both their own traditional culture and todays present ways. The way i see it, Barnhardt doesn't necessarily want to abolish todays educational system. He would simply like to intertwine the two. Here is a diagram directly from the article showing two different ways of teaching represented as rivers. The two methods can be joined as one just like river do.

This is no doubtadly a touchy subject when viewed by parents, but people should consider this with an open mind.

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