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1 A Comparative Perspective on Learning among Indigenous and Western Students in primary School Lectures at the 17th EECERA Annual Conference in Prague,

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Presentation on theme: "1 A Comparative Perspective on Learning among Indigenous and Western Students in primary School Lectures at the 17th EECERA Annual Conference in Prague,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 A Comparative Perspective on Learning among Indigenous and Western Students in primary School Lectures at the 17th EECERA Annual Conference in Prague, 29th August – 1st September, 2007 Ole Fredrik Lillemyr & Frode Søbstad Queen Maud’s University College of Early Childhood Education, Trondheim, Norway 30th August 2007 and

2 2 Co-authors & Presenters Co-authors Ole Fredrik Lillemyr, QMC, Norway Frode Søbstad, QMC, Norway Kurt Marder, UWS, Australia Terri Flowerday, New Mexico, USA Camilla Bang, QMC, Norway Presenters Ole Fredrik Lillemyr Frode Søbstad

3 3 A Socio-Cultural Perspective on Play and Learning: Research Focus Student motivation is a great challenge in school The Objective of Equal Opportunity in Education – an optimal aim in all these countries (independent of background) A comparative research study in Australia, USA & Norway, focusing third and fourth grade (8-10 yrs) Focus on play, learning, self-concept, intrinsic motivation in a socio-cult perspective (Vygotsky,1978;Deci & Ryan,1991; Maehr & Midgley 1996) Play important – cf. learning through play In play, intrinsic motivation is natural and typical Learning in a broad sense incl social aspects to promote engagement & motivation Self-Concept has a central role in school Earlier research: focused older students and not including play

4 4 Sample of students according to socio-cultural background Amount of students Anglo Australian496 Aboriginal Australian130 Ethnic Norwegian223 Sámi144 Anglo American 25 Navajo 57 Total1075

5 5 Theories Sociocultural theory; Vygotsky (1978): children’s dev. and sense of relatedness important to cultural identity(zone of proximal developm) Motivational theories Goal theory – personal investment (IM)=sense of self, motivational orientation, perceived options Maehr & Midgley1966 Self-determination (Deci & Ryan, 1991; 2002) and internalization of extrinsic motivation, according to: Need for competence Need for self-determination Need for relatedness (belonging) Social motivation important to social learning (Cf. Wentzel, 2005; Ladd, 2007; Lillemyr, 2007) Play important to all children + in any culture (Huizinga, 1955; Levy, 1978)

6 6 Children’s relatedness – in socio-cultural Groups According to theory, children’s language development and sense of relatedness, important to developm. of cult identity (cf. Vygotsky, 1978; 1986) In the Indigenous groups included in our study, the teaching language varies heavily; with consequences for cultural identity Furthermore, our groups have quite different school conditions otherwise as well; parent involvements in school, their culture’s focus in the curriculum, degree of task or performance orientation, amount of free choices available in class All Indigenous people struggle for recognition, justice, respect for their culture in the society – so General Self in general and sense of relatedness in particular are important (cf. Vygotsky, 1986; Deci & Ryan, 1991) Sense of relatedness plays an important role for students’ social motivation and their academic ambitions (Deci and Ryan, 1991)

7 7 Indigenous People of Norway: The Sámi - People of the Sun and Wind The Sámi, divided betw four nations (Norway,Sweden,Finland,Russia) Their territory is called Sápmi (or Sámiätnam) The Sámi comprise around people, in Norway (1%) As Indigenous people, the Sámi have strived to preserve their culture Excesses and injustice has been committed to them by ethnic Norwegians through the years Duodji (handicrafts), joik (singing), Sámi clothing A Sámi Parliament (1989), Sámi Curriculum (1997), Sámi Allaskuvla (1989), museums & centers Sámi Allaskuvla is the only university college in the four countries teaching in Sámi to Sámi students

8 8 The Aboriginal Australians - People of the Dream Philosophy Aborigines, lit. :people here from beginn. (at least yrs back) Indigenous Australians= Aborigines + Torres Strait Islanders Population today close to = 2,3 % (of Australia) A tribe is formed of clans, believe in same Dreamtime stories, speak same language, celebrate same customs and rites Several hundred tribes, community often used to describe Aboriginal groups; today 6-10 large com.’s in Aus (e.g.Koori) Colonization (1788) imposed change on culture & lifestyle, took their land, destroyed food sources, diseases, killing, forbidden to learn language to children & separation from family Today famous for art (handicrafts), didgeridoo playing, etc.

9 9 Native Americans: The Navajo’s – Naabeehó Dine’é The Navajo’s are a sovereign native American tribe Their reservation (Navajo Nation) covers square km’s of land in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah (largest in USA). Some Navajo’s also live in other states The Navajo’s, traditionally known as Diné encompass today around people (1 % of US population, 2/3 of Native Americans) Their language is: Navajo and English (also in schools) Registered as a N, when a ”blood quantum” of one fourth Important: Oral stories are mediated from gen to gen

10 10 Research Questions What are the similarities and differences between Indigenous and Western students’ learning preference (dir or free), interests in play (dir or free), motivational orientations, and self-concepts (cognitive, social, general self) in Australia, USA and Norway? What gender similarities and differences exist within the Australian, American and Norwegian student groups?

11 11 Research Methods Study 1: Questionnaire Harter’s Self-concept scales (Academic, Social, General Self-esteem) + Søbstad: Humor Self Harter’s IM scales (challenge, curiosity, mastery) Lillemyr’s Interest scales (learning, play, l c a) McInerney’s scale of school motivation Study 2: Interviews of students and teachers

12 12 Main results More differences between Indigenous & Western students, than between Indigenous groups Indigenous students, favoring teacher directed learning more Different concepts of learning dominate among boys and girls Play is essential to all soc-cult groups, help them learn better Indigenous students lower General Self and Social Self, no group differences on Academic Self Norway: Teachers teaching Western students – more play in class + more student influence – not in Australia Major challenge for teachers: the gender difference, particularly Indigenous students

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15 15 Discussion Indigenous students preferance according to Vygotsky Gender differences in all socio-cultural groups Play important for school learning Teachers reluctant to student influence Challenges regarding equality of education

16 16 Conclusions It was found more diff’s betw Ind & W sts, than betw the different Ind student grs Indigenous grs endorsed stronger a teacher-dir learning (trad concept of learning), corresponding to Vygotsky’s theory Gender differences in interest of free learning within the Indigenous student groups Indigenous students (Abor & Nav) lower GSe than Western grs, and lower social Self (Sámi) No differences found between Ind grs and West grs on Academic Self In particular, it is important for school to be aware of gender differences within Indigenous student groups


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