Motivating Native American Students to Succeed

Abstract: (Excerpt from Introduction)

This paper will address the question: How can Native American students be motivated to succeed in the classroom? Although the answers are numerous and complex, the focus will be narrowed to describe what faculty can do and what students themselves can do. I will also introduce the Arrow model and explain in more detail how this model will be helpful for Amiercan Indian students in academics.

The role of faculty is a key ingredient for the academic success of Native American students at an institution of higher education. In Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers, McKeachie notes that "more often then not, you can help the students discover that they are more competent than they thought" (McKeachie, 1999: 52). When I talk about "faculty", I am referring mostly to prefessors and instructors who teach courses to the student population in a classroom setting. Faculty, therefore, are people whom a student sees, listens to, and trusts that they will learn from. Faculty are people who should have the ability to make learning interesting in class. Faculty who tend to be the most effective in motivating students to learn and achieve success in the classroom are those who take the time to listen to students and take that extra step to help them.

A student's own behavior, attitudes and actions will also determine whether or not he or she will succeed in an academic setting. Native American students, especially those raised in a traditional atmosphere, are often in the position of having to learn how to balance the values of their culture with what is expected of them in a western institutional setting. How well they succeed in this endeavor is connected to how successful they will be in the classroom.

Finally, I will describe the Arrow Model which can be used to motivate students in the classroom. When Native American students have a clear understanding and appreciation of their culture and history, they can approach learning in the classroom with enthusiasm and excitement. In this way, they will have a much better chance of reaching their goals and achieving academic success.


Presley Hickman


Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox





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