Head Start Researchers Publish Book Chapter
The Ah Neen Dush research project team contributed a chapter to the new book “Voices of Native American Indian Educators”, which was published in December 2011. The chapter by the Head Start team is titled, “Ah neen dush: Harnessing Collective Wisdom to Create Culturally Relevant Science Experiences in Pre-K Classrooms”. Authors and members of the project team are Dr. Ann Mogush Mason, Dr. Mia Dubosarsky, Dr. Gillian Roehrig, Mary Farley, Dr. Stephan Carlson, and Barbara Murphy. The Ah Neen Dush project was a Head Start grant funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Gillian Roehrig, the PI of the Ah Neen Dush project, is the Co-Director of the STEM Education Center.
The importance of teaching science from a culturally relevant perspective is especially important at a young age so students’ first experiences with science are interesting and fit with what they have been taught is valued in their culture.
Voices of Native American Indian Educators: Integrating History, Culture, and Language to Improve Learning Outcomes for Native American Indian Students, edited by Sheila T. Gregory, is a comprehensive resource that provides a vivid portrait of best practices for Native American students, as experienced by Native American educators. This book is based primarily on research studies, both quantitative and qualitative, that offer new, practical strategies for teachers to improve the academic performance of Native American students.
All of the contributors in this book are Native American Indian educators who have experienced success in their teaching practices by using a variety of multidisciplinary approaches in their practice of teaching. In this collection, “culture” is considered to be constantly evolving and is described as something that can both be learned and unlearned. Furthermore, people who share the same culture do not always behave in the same ways. The complexity of culture, then, is a tremendous challenge for many researchers who strive to quantitatively define the characteristics of a population, rather than contextualize through culturally relevant pedagogy.
Voices of Native American Indian Educators seeks to fill this enormous gap in the literature by providing both a variety of scholarly research on best practices and a generous list of references and other resources available to teachers on Native American Indian students.