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BIA EDUCATION RESEARCH BULLETIN, YEAR 1973

AN INVESTIGATION OF THE RESULTS OF STUDY OF CROSS-CULTURAL INFORMAL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES UPON SELF-CONCEPT OF NATIVE AMERICANS

by
Leola Sechoya McGilbra Taylor

Scope and Method of Study: The purpose of this experimental study was to determine the effects of cross-cultural informal educational experiences upon the self- concept of Native American students enrolled at the Eufaula Indian School, Eufaula, Oklahoma. The majority of the student population is composed of the Five Civilized Tribes—Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Seminoles. There were 33 subjects who volunteered to participate in the experiment.

The instrument by Ira J. Gordon, How I See Myself, elementary form, was used in this study. The subjects ranged from the Third through the Ninth Grades. All subjects were bilingual and at least one-fourth degree or more Native American descent. The study was concerned only with the self-concept of these particular cultural or tribal groups. The comparison group were those students enrolled at Jones Academy located at Hartshorne, Oklahoma, which is comparable to Eufaula. The experimental and comparison groups' gain scores were compared in the five areas of the scale: 1-teacher-school, 2-physical appearance, 3-interpersonal adequacy, 4-autonomy, 5-academic adequacy. Further comparison was made of the experimental group gain scores in the following categories: total elementary and junior high children, total elementary and junior high boys, total elementary and junior high girls, total elementary children, total elementary boys, total elementary girls, total junior high children, total junior high boys, and total junior high girls.

The experimental group received 18 weeks of informal cultural materials and training, and was pre and post tested. The control group received a pretest and post test, but received no cross-cultural training. In addition to the major cultures selected, many additional cultures and audiovisual media were incorporated during the training period. All statistics were computed using appropriate tests for related groups and a test for differences between independent means.

The study examined the change in self-concept of Native American students completing an informal cross cultural educational experience program. Two areas investigated were: 1-the change in self-concept between an experimental group and a control group, and 2-the relative change in self-concept of students in the experimental group.

All students who completed both the pretest and post test at Eufaula Indian School and Jones Academy were used for this study. The Eufaula Indian School sample served as the experimental group and consisted of 33 students. The Jones Academy sample served as the control group and consisted of 20 students. These groups were given the How I See Myself Scale, elementary form, as a pretest.

The 33 students at Eufaula Indian School received the informal cross-cultural educational experience program for 18 weeks. The Jones Academy students did not receive the informal cross-cultural educational experience program. The How I See Myself Scale, elementary form, was then administered to both groups as a post test.

Each factor of the How I See Myself Scale was examined for each population subgroup.

The data were treated statistically by the methods of the t-test for the significance of the difference between two sample means and the t-test for correlated variables.

FINDINGS

The results of the portion of the study concerning the differences in self-concept between the experimental group and the control group are not impressive in that there was a significant gain in test performance for only three of the 45 groups examined.

The calculated t-value for the change in self-concept between the experimental group and the control group (2.575 for total elementary and junior high boys, 2.399 for elementary school boys) for physical appearance exceeded the tabulated t-values at the .05 level of confidence. The calculated t-value for the change in self-concept between the experimental group and the control group (3.334 for elementary school boys) for autonomy exceeded the tabulated t-value at the .01 level of confidence. The lack of significance of the calculated t- values for the 42 other groups examined by Hypotheses I through V make it feasible to conclude that the informal cross-cultural educational experience does not materially change the self-concept of the experimental group. These results fail to confirm the findings of other studies reported in Chapter II.

The results of the portion of this study concerning the changes in self-concept within the experimental group indicate that little or no significant changes in self-concept resulted from the informal cross-cultural educational experiences for the experimental group. (See XVII). The calculated t-values for the change in self-concept within the experimental group (2.278 for elementary and junior high boys, 2.495 for elementary boys) for Interpersonal Adequacy exceeded the. tabulated t-values at the .05 level of confidence. The lack of significance for the 43 other groups examined makes it feasible to conclude that the informal cross-cultural educational experiences did not materially change the self-concept within the experimental group. These results are in disagreement with the literature reviewed.

The gains in performance for boys could be due to their greater participation in the informal cross-cultural educational experience program. The boys were observed to be more curious about, and eager to explore, the materials presented in the experimental program.

The failure of this study to show significant gains in self-concept as a result of the informal cross-cultural educational experiences could be due, in part, to the following: 1- participation in the informal cross-cultural educational experience was voluntary and attendance was intermittent, 2-the duration of the informal cross-cultural educational experience program was moderately short to influence or change self-concepts that have been developed over a long period of time, and 3-the age group selected for this study may not be that age group which would most likely experience a change in self-concept utilizing the reinforcement materials used in this study.

Continued evaluation of a program is important and this research suggests the need for further research in self-concept in the following areas:

1. This study should be replicated utilizing a longer time unit than was used in this study.

2. The study should be replicated utilizing a different age group.

CONCLUSION

The results of this study are presented to encourage and initiate assistance toward developing programs which will foster the growth and development of strong positive self- concepts among Native American children. It is also hoped that the results may be useful in guiding other research studies in this area.

In closing, a point to remember is that the Native American youth enters his educational pursuits endowed with special talents, a deep respect for harmony; worthy qualities of fortitude; and the heritage from Indian life. School does not have the same significance to him as to the success-oriented Caucasian. With the knowledge of this philosophy, it is hoped that educators will design future programs incorporating elements to meet his needs too.

 

Dr. Leola Taylor (Creek) was born in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Graduated from Chilocco Indian School, 1939; Attended Arkansas City Junior College, Arkansas City, Kansas, 1939; Received B.S. Degree, Southeastern State College, Durant, Oklahoma, 1943; Received Master of Science Degree from Oklahoma State Univeristy, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 1960; Received her Doctorate May 1973 from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Taylor is currently Principal at Eufaula Indian School under the Muskogee Area Office, Muskogee, Oklahoma.


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Last modified March 12, 2008