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This paper presents an overview of American Indian students' learning styles, world views, and communication styles, with implications for classroom techniques and teaching styles. Research has shown that American Indian and African American students are primarily right-brained in learning styles, while Anglo and Asian students are primarily left-brained. Characteristics of left-brained and right-brained learning are listed. Most standardized tests and classroom teaching strategies are left-brained in approach. Categorizing Gardner's seven intelligences, left-brained learning styles include linguistic, logical-mathematical, and intrapersonal learning, while right-brained learning styles include spatial, musical, interpersonal, and bodily-kinesthetic learning. Ethnic variations in learning styles can be partially explained in terms of world view. Western/scientific world view differs from tribal world view in terms of the relationship between God, man, and nature; denial of or belief in a spiritual realm; and objective versus subjective perspectives on events. Cultural differences also exist in communication styles. Different discourse patterns may cause confusion and frustration in the classroom, if the teacher is speaking/listening in a linear fashion and Indian students are communicating in a circular fashion. An equitable education for American Indian students requires appropriate teaching techniques, appropriate assessment tools, empowering school culture, student-centered strategies, and teacher awareness of the impact of their own culture and beliefs. (SV)

Descriptors: American Indian Education, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Classroom Communication, Cognitive Style, Communication Problems, Cultural Differences, Culturally Relevant Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Teaching Styles, World Views

Autor: Goin, Linda


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