20 SES 07 B, Indigenous And Minority Groups’ Pathways Into Intercultural Education: International Perspectives On Innovative Learning Environments
Past studies have revealed that the Taiwanese indigenous children are at risk of low literacy achievements because of limited educational resources in their families. In fact their difficulties in learning seldom stem from their families’ lack of resources but may be from a mismatch between the literacy discourses of their homes and schools. Researchers also revealed that minority children’s development of bicultural identities increase their motivation for learning and academic achievements. Therefore, this study took a sociocultural approach to (a) discover the literacy resources of the indigenous communities and (b) to deepen the understanding of the interplay between children’s literacy development and identity formation. This study adopted ethnographic methods. Two Rukai families living in a tribe and two in a city with at least one first grader were recruited. Data sources included interviews of children, their parents, and teachers; observations of homes and schools; and collection of artifacts from homes and schools. I found that children in the tribe were surrounded by rich cultural resources. They often attended tribal ceremonies. They can see totems, wooden crafts, traditional clothes, and treasures on a daily basis. However, while the participating boy showed the knowledge about Rukai tribe in his drawings, the girl did not know she is indigenous. Her mother restricted her from exploring the tribe and did not tell her things about Rukai tribe. In contrary to the assumption that indigenous children in the city may be confused about their ethnic identity, two participating children showed positive attitudes toward their ethnic identity. They also demonstrated their knowledge about Rukai tribe in their drawings. A church and their older relatives played important roles in transmitting tribal heritage. This study provided insight into the factors that support the learning and identity formation of indigenous children and the design of culturally relevant literacy curricula.
Heath, S.B. & Street, B.V. (2008) On ethnography: Approaches to languages and literacy research. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
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