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Slide #26 - Instructional approaches - perceptual orientations

The way teachers teach and the way teachers think about learning may be a factor in explaining the high rate of dropout. Inuit are known to be very observant learners; traditionally, they are not overtly verbal. To survive, Inuit children had to learn skills and they learned by modeling their elders and parents. They learned by watching and doing. Some teachers may not be using the Inuit studentsŐ natural learning abilities to foster success. Caine & Caine (1997) categorises teachers into three groups according to their instructional approach. Only one group values learning that leans towards the natural tendencies of Inuit. The conflict of teaching approaches and mental models from traditional and the southern teachers may be responsible for increased downshifting of students important of considering brain-based learning in teaching practices and classroom climate.

Slide #27 - Brain-Based teaching

Brain-based teachers are those who use techniques that work for the child. Often students who are at-risk for dropout do not learn in ways that are typically emphasized by teachers in the typical classroom. Teachers must carefully consider their teaching methods to be sure that they are providing each student with an opportunity to learn in the ways that they are able. Students who feel success in school will be more likely to remain in school and complete their education. The awareness of the links between teaching methodology and dropout rate will spark teachers and administrators to promote brain compatible teaching in northern schools.

"Good teachers everywhere should have a strong understanding of how to individualise instruction for the wide range of students in a class. The wide ability level found in any regular southern class is perhaps further widened in the North by factors of second-language usage and varying attendance patterns on the part of the children. . . Teachers must have a good understanding of first - and second - language learning . . . Qallunaaq teachers should be able to work effectively in a cross-cultural situation - with children, with fellow workers, and with the larger community"(Tompkins,1998).

Are the current teaching techniques, methodologies and philosophies used in northern schools negatively effecting the dropout rate for Inuit students? Unfortunately, more study is needed in this area to truly determine the influence of teaching techniques on dropout rates for Inuit. Teachers who are mindful of their teaching practices and who are able to adapt to the unique situation of teaching Inuit students will foster success for Inuit students and thus help to reduce dropout.

Slide #28 - Consider Classroom climate as much as school climate. One should also consider to what extent school/classroom climate and culture intensify the desire to leave school. School climate includes:

1) the way teachers approach the learning of their students with regards to instructional approaches and perceptional orientations (Caine & Caine, 1997);

2) the way the school values cultural differences;

3) the elements of friendship and hostility between student - student and student - teacher relationships.

There are many factors that contribute to dropping out that occur outside of the school domain. However, if teachers are able to make their schools and classrooms more conducive to at risk students, then perhaps fewer students will choose to opt out.

Slide # 29 Cultural Discontinuity -

One theory is that problems in school stem from a clash of cultures between the dominate culture of the school (generally nonnative) and that of the Native students who attend. Students face difference: between their home life culture and expectations of the school culture.

The question is how much cultural discontinuity plays a role in the dropout situation here in Taloyoak?

Cultural racism is only one element in a complex web of factors that students face when dropping out. Caine & Caine (1997) would argue that any type of stress or high threat environment would lead to downshifting. Downshifting affects students in ways that prevents them from doing well academically or socially. Without a sense of success, it becomes logical to assume that students will not want to remain within the school system.

Slide #30 Motivation

What is the relationship between motivation and academic achievement? Rindone (1988) reported that family (stability of traditional values) is the way to academic success of high achieving Stable family life with traditional values becomes an important determinant of achievement in high school; parents and family were able to motivate and encourage children to succeed.

Many teachers try to motivate students to come to school by using external rewards: candy, pencils, stickers, skating parties, tokens etc. These types of rewards are commonly used in younger grades. However, even older students (those over 18 years of age) can claim social assistance by attending school. Nevertheless, many of these same students do not make it through the semester to gain credits. Monetary rewards do not appear to serve as a motivational tool.

Using rewards to motivate students to do well and come to school is ineffective. Extrinsic incentives can, by undermining a sense of personal goodness, decrease intrinsic motivation. Researchers have found that children who are frequently rewarded are less likely than other children to keep doing those things. Using extrinsic motivation, especially in the younger grades to keep students interested in school, becomes a big problem once those students become of age to dropout. Successful Inuit students must have intrinsic motivation to finish school. Educators must find ways to motivate students without using extrinsic rewards which only works to erode intrinsic motivation.

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