Culturally Grounded Academic Interventions That Build on the Strengths of Indigenous Students

June 3, 2016

Stephanie Fryberg, Ph.D, examine indigenous children’s approach to learning and how educators can create a more supportive academic environment.

Individuals are a product of the culture they inhabit, and also play an important role in creating and adapting to that culture. For many indigenous students, the culture of educational institutions in the U.S. reflects a set of ideas and practices about what it means to be a “good” student, the purpose of education and the nature of the relationship between teachers and students. This results in a cultural mismatch between indigenous students’ model of self and the model prevalent in mainstream educational contexts. The first set of studies empirically tests these cultural mismatches, whereas the second set of studies builds on the strengths of indigenous students to alleviate these mismatches and positively influence motivation and academic performance.

Stephanie Fryberg, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology and Department of American Indian Studies, University of Washington