Inventing a transactional classroom: An Upward Bound, Native American writing community
AuthorTurner, Jesse Patrick
KeywordsEducation, Language and Literature.
Education, Teacher Training.
AdvisorGoodman, Yetta M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis teacher-researcher study examines the experiences of secondary students in a unique Upward Bound program exclusively for Native Americans. The study followed the reading and writing experiences of these students during a 2-year period. The focus of the dissertation is on the literacy experiences of students as they were exposed to a rich writing program that used culture as the invitation to literacy. The investigation follows both teacher researcher and students during the emergence of a transactional curriculum that closely followed the Indian Nations at Risk Task Force recommendations for Native American learners. The study enlisted 20 Native American students who were already participating in the Upward Bound program. This program was chosen because it was the only such program in the United States exclusively for Native American students. These students attended public high schools in Tucson, Arizona, or high schools on the Tohono O'odham reservation outside Tucson. The curriculum focus is on transactional literacy experiences and inquiry. These focuses and the concept of teacher as researcher provide the theoretical framework. This framework illuminates curriculum as it attempts to transform the educational experiences of Native American adolescents immersed in writing experiences rooted in Native American ways of viewing the world. This analysis of one distinctive writing class suggests that the often documented institutionally-produced factors that contribute to Native American adolescent failure and discontinuity in secondary writing settings can be overcome when Native American culture is not only valued, but embraced as the focus of literacy in school. This dissertation provides insights into the uniqueness of Native American school experiences and extends the current body of literature on Native American education by considering culture as the invitation into literacy and the teacher as change agent. This study also asks others to pick up the torch. Finally, teacher researcher generated recommendations provide an opportunity for teachers themselves to begin the process of changing the discontinuity of learning often felt by Native Americans in their own classrooms. These recommendations include five conditions for an emerging curriculum: (a) creating space for transactional dialogues, (b) sharing responsibility, (c) trusting inquiry, (d) using multiple sign systems, and (e) accessing personal and social ways of knowing. We need not wait for institutional change to make a difference. As has often been stated in educational research, the teacher makes the difference.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture