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Differences in learning styles and cognitive processes found within Native American students and the need for teaching methods and curriculum that are culturally integrated

1 May 1989


The purpose of this project is to survey and analyze various resource materials which relate to differences in learning styles and cognitive processes demonstrated by American Indian students in the classroom, as opposed to non-Indian students. Following an analysis of the collected research, appropriate literature is compiled into an annotated bibliography. All cited materials examine approaches to learning in a classroom context, as well as cognitive processes of Native American children. Learning/ Cognitive styles such as Global/Analytic; Impulsive/Reflective; Trial-and-Error/Watch-Then-Do; and Field Dependent/Field Independent are discussed in the various citations. In much of the research findings, Indian students are considered visual/ spatial/perceptual rather than verbal. The data also suggests that Native children prefer processing information through coding with imagery, rather than by word association. The bibliographical annotations also examine the effects of community and culture on the learning style preferences and cognitive strengths of American Indian students. Many of the materials also lend valuable insights into the importance of matching teaching style to learning style. Classroom implications and recommendations are finally offered in order to promote congruence between teacher and student in a classroom context.


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