In the article, “Classroom Inquiry and Navajo Learning Styles: A Call for Reassessment,” the authors question the idea that Navajo students are not suitable for the implementation of analytical or inquiry-based pedagogies.(McCarty, T. et. al., 1991, 42) They set out to make their theory more plausible, that students traditionally classified as ‘visual learners’ and furthermore, as ‘doers not talkers,’ can in fact, respond very successfully to inquiry-based pedagogical approaches.
Some academics even believe that Native American students are culturally predisposed to not being able to learn with inquiry-based approaches because they are culturally ingrained to believe that it I s “considered ill-mannered and rude for them to disagree in public or to risk hurting someone’s feelings by speaking up in class or stating an opinion.
”(Decker, 1983, 47) As this generalization is culturally sensitive and apparently well-intentioned, most scholars tend to agree or at least to accept it as a working theory.
The racial implications are largely obscured but confront the authors are chilling and deserving of critical rebuke backed by good research.
Motivated by their distaste for racial generalizations, the authors did their own study in Rough Rock Elementary where they adapted inquiry-based materials for the new curriculum. They also made their study more traditionally ethnographic by working as staff-members during the course of the study.
Their study was not specifically a study aimed at proving that Navajo students could respond to and benefit from inquiry-based education. Rather, this study wanted to study the conditions under which Navajo children: (1) verbalize opinions and speak up in class, and (2) make inductive generalizations.”(McCarty, T., et. al., 1991, 44) What the authors of this study ended up discovering was that the Navajo students were typically very active, engaged, and energetic participants. They found that however, this was not always the case and it was quite perplexing to many how so much thoughtful participation actually resulted.
The authors reasoned that the curriculum was directed towards the students more individualized and culturally-bound experiences and learning preferences. That too, the curriculum was the main reason for the successful results because it made use of “children’s learning resources, as well as the clear social-cultural relevance of curriculum content, account for the positive responses of Navajo children and their teachers to questioning, inductive/analytical reasoning, and to speaking up in class.”(McCarty, T., et. al., 1991, 52) Consequently, because in short, the students were asked questions that they were expected to be able to answer or at least had moderately adequate contexts for engagement. The study was a success and not inconclusive.
II. Strengths and Weaknesses
The curriculum represents both the greatest strengths as well as the greatest weaknesses of this article. As the curriculum is both bi-lingual and bi-cultural, it is certainly extremely tailored to the students in this study. However, as the United States is not just the sum of its parts there is a question of whether national standards are met with this curriculum so that it is not so uniquely catered to the students that of course they appear to satisfy all the performative requirements of inquiry-based learning. Even though the curriculum is bi-lingual and bi-cultural, it’s hard to argue that America is suddenly become in an indicatively substantial way, both bi-lingual and bi-cultural. Furthermore, because so many students are bi-lingual and bi-cultural but evolve from different sets of languages and cultures, whether the author’s generalization towards a more universal application is warranted is necessarily questionable.
Because Rough Rock has its own curriculum center, this further complicates the situation because if Inquiry-based learning is directed towards improving students interrelation between themselves and others. If the curriculum, which is not greatly analyzed, is so skewed that it is not at all evident to any community group but the Rough Rock group then this study is appreciably flawed.
However, the great brilliance of this study is that it manages it persuasively point out that when theorists often blame ‘students’ for not being able to engage appropriately it could be that the curriculum is not at all relevant and that the students cannot relate. Consequently, this article indirectly recommends a thoroughly honest evaluation of the available curriculum if students should not respond well to a course of study that would be useful for improving their local and global opportunities.
III. Comparison and Connections
In the author’s Rough Rock study the effects are still framed with the ideals of participation and socialization in mind. How to perform the role as a functioning and contributing citizen seems to be one of the core inner-motivations. In consequence, socialization is used again and again. Of course, a curriculum aimed at socialization would have to incorporate verbal engagement, a very primary element of any socialization process. There is absolutely no coherently persuasive interpretation of the evidence by the authors of the rough rock study about whether these students are better prepared for the world outside of Rough Rock. There is no mention of test scores, or some other form of objective standard by which one could critically assess.
While the Rough Rock study does talk about interrelation it tends to discuss it primarily on the basis of helping students talk more in class. Unfortunately, quantity is not directly correlated to quality and while the students subjectively enjoyed their greater involvement and engagement the results of greater satisfaction are unclear and given that the teachers at Rough Rock were very much against the students talking too much because it could be dangerous. It is somewhat troublesome what expected outcomes would be or could at least be expected to be.
In inquiry-based studies of more privileged areas like that which is situated at and around Palo Alto finds that educators are preoccupied with making the students better scientists, intellectuals, and otherwise elite positions that are both productive and prestigious.
In “Addressing the Challenges of Inquiry-Based Learning through Technology and Curriculum Design” (1999), Edelson, Gordin and Pea stress that students can only learn effectively if they first learn enough knowledge to be able to apply it and speak in a way as to stress the research component. By stressing the research component students are discouraged from not being able to support their remarks and indirectly, speculate less and theorize more.(392) This shows that inquiry-based learning is far from homogeneous but is more of an open-ended method in itself and that because teachers are given greater freedom some teachers have far more modest goals while others educators have far more grandiose but accomplishable goals in their own right. Inquiry-based learning can make school very different for students who live as close as 30 miles apart. In one school students could be engaged in exercises designed to ‘impart confidence’ while in another school students of the same age are discussing programming code.
Due to the decentralization of standards and the minimization of book-centric learning, a greater and greater rift could result so that people have few common bases even when they’ve taken the same classes because the content could be so radically disparate that they may expose some students to tragic inadequacies when they have to compete for jobs in a far more national and even international environment.
III. Statement of Relevance
Since my original topic of interest concerns the justification of inquiry-based learning as opposed to more traditional methods, this article is very beneficial. It provides me with a ethnographic study that is able to reference both the flaws and benefits of inquiry-based learning while reminding that outcomes are very uncertain and that children may be more constrained by their education because it is often so localized. Due to this localization and disparity, this helps me contextualize my statement better so that I can ground it more thoroughly and adequately.
IV. Ethical Issues
Since the research is guided towards going against the grain on Native American students and the adequacy of inquiry-based approaches it does substantiate its hypothesis well but it leaves a lot unsaid. As many of the other work on this topic has been done by researchers and academics who were perhaps less culturally sensitive and may have noticed that the students seemed alternatively shy and anxious around people who were obviously outsiders. There may be different processes and interactions and processes going on that severely complicate the findings and make it very unclear whether inquiry-based approaches are good simply if students seem to enjoy participating and becoming more active in the classroom.
The methodology of using a tailored curriculum then saying that it was mostly the curriculum that was to be congratulated for the study’s apparent success; is problematic. It is problematic because the questions that the students were asked are not disclosed and its questionable how educationally stimulating the questions were if all of the students could eagerly and actively participate. For example, if asked about their favorite T.V. shows everyone in the classroom would be able to take part but if specific and more technical knowledge is necessitated by the phrasing of the question. Then there will be far lower rates of participation.
When the authors of the article appear disproportionately pleased about simply getting students to talk and we all know that talk is often discredited in our society and that what is preferred is well-informed talk. That what the students may be learning is over-confidence that may pre-dispose them to taking greater risks that may endanger themselves or others.
Furthermore, as the researchers so easily became staff members of the school it is questionable how professional and safe of an environment the school was for the children. As its apparently a popular location for ethnographic studies, one wonders if the scholastic and professional opportunities are endangered by researchers pretending to be staff, collecting the data they wish to collect through a not so subtle manipulation of factors, then leaving the students with something that may or may not work.
As the students have almost involuntarily become test-subjects when they’re minors and it seems that neither their parents nor guardians were informed there are a lot of boundary issues and other issues of privacy, being challenged in a way that offends available norms and ethical guidelines.
While the arguments flow together quite cohesively and logically, as they are well-formulated. Crucial problems within the methodology and implementation do damage the credibility of this article. This very much puts into question how much the authors should be applauded for their ‘success’ that came at a price, the lives of children placed at risk for the purposes of scientific inquiry and confrontation. As the children were potentially jeopardized this seems like a very thorny issue and even the existence of this study could be said to be placed on somewhat unethical grounds because the children were too much instruments that were utilized purely for the sake of lending good support to the relatively radical theories of a few researchers.
McCarty, T., Lynch, R., Wallace, S., and Bennally, A. (1991) Classroom Inquiry and Navajo Learning Styles: A Call for Reassessment. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 22(1), 42-59.
Decker, B. (1983) Cultural Diversity, Another Element to Recognize in Learning Styles. NASSP Bulletin, 67(464), 43-48.
Edelson, D., Gordin, D., and Pea, R. (1999) Addressing the Challenges of Inquiry-Based Learning Through Technology and Curriculum Design. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 8(3/4), 391-450.
Cite this Injury based learning
Injury based learning. (2016, Oct 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/injury-based-learning/