The U.S. system of education was developed by visionary forefathers that knew American democracy would be stable only through educated citizens. The system was developed to produce citizens that would carry on the new world's vision and values. The educational system was built within that paradigm. Simultaneously, Indigenous tribes in America were being stripped of their traditional educational systems whose purpose was also to develop productive citizens of their communities and carry on their values. Traditional educational systems among tribes developed children with positive self-identity carrying the pride of their culture, language, and paradigm. That is not the case for the current educational system which does not match the paradigms of Indigenous learners.
Current student data at both state and federal levels shows that the current system of education is not working for Indigenous students. The data indicates that change needs to occur. This paper discusses how we can better serve Indigenous students in education by shifting our focus to changing the educational systems rather than trying to change the students. By matching the paradigms of Indigenous communities and designing the educational system within that worldview, we can make vast changes for our Indigenous students in America. We do this by teaching them through their own traditional cultures, languages, and paradigms. Changing the system to match a paradigm means redesigning systems based on the lifeways of communities including their culture, values, language, and learning potentials. In doing so we can change the current outcomes of Indigenous students.
Running Wolf, Lona R.
"Shifting Educational Paradigms to Match Learners: Sustaining Cultures, Languages, and Paradigms through Educational Sovereignty,"
The Montana English Journal: Vol. 44, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/mej/vol44/iss2023/4
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