Native Village Youth and Education News
September 2009

 

Lander Educators First to Complete UW Course on Teaching Native American Children
Condensed by Native Village

\Wyoming: Two Lander educators are the first graduates of the new University of Wyoming graduate program for teachers of American Indian children.

Marty Conrad and Christine Rogers from Fremont County School District recently completed the program's five courses. It is the first comprehensive teaching opportunity for those interested in meeting the unique learning needs of American Indian children.

Conrad, a member of the Choctaw/Creek Tribe of Oklahoma, expanded his understanding and was provided the tools to make necessary changes.

"
Native American students [generally] learn better when there is something about their tribe or culture that is integrated into the curriculum," he said. "It is very important that Native American students get to know their language and their culture. That is the bottom line -- that all school districts that have a high population of Native American students do that."

Rogers took the course to better serve her Native students. She told about one young man who was barely earning a D grade in his traditional English class. But that same student thrived in Rogers' Native American literature course,

"In the Native American literature class, he sat in the front, it was almost hard to keep him quiet and he got an A," she says, noting that class was based on a college-level course. "Relevant curriculum and meaningful connections really do make a difference for students."

Helping other educators learn effective classroom strategies and ways to deal with cultural differences also motivated her to take UW's course.

"I thought if I could become a teacher educator I can start planting that seed in the minds of people early in their career, rather than having them get stuck five years down the road," she says. "It is easier to keep going in the direction they are going, instead of trying something new."

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