Community-based Indigenous Education for Global Competence

By Phyllis Ngai.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Transnational migration, advanced technology, and globalization have brought about increased interconnectivity among people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. To prepare for today’s diversity in organizations, communities, and nations, education leaders around the world are searching for educational approaches that will help future generations develop competence for meaningful and effective participation in the globalized workplace and society. When learning to be globally competent, it is useful to start locally. The local is the place where the multicultural competencies required for global living are nurtured, tested, and applied. In many parts of the world, indigenous cultures provide fertile learning grounds that are situated in or near the place where students reside. Can indigenous education serve as a form of place-based multicultural education designed to help learners develop transferable cross-cultural competencies by experiencing a local indigenous culture? This paper describes a K-5 urban-school curriculum-reform project that aims to integrate local American Indian perspectives into Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Music, and Health. Elementary-school children who participated in this innovative pilot project had indicated an increased awareness of and appreciation for cultural diversity not only of the place but around the world. Furthermore, while helping children to become intercultural competent, educators contributed to safeguarding indigenous cultures that had been diminishing on the margin in United States. The project results affirm that global competence education and indigenous education can be effectively combined to meet the educational needs of the 21st century.

Keywords: Global Citizenship Education, Indigenous Education, Place-based Learning, Intercultural Competence, Multicultural Education

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.205-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 603.589KB).

Dr. Phyllis Ngai

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, The University of Montana-Missoula, Missoula, Montana, USA

Dr. Phyllis Ngai is currently teaching at The University of Montana-Missoula. Her research and teaching interests include multicultural/bilingual education and intercultural/international communication. In 2004, she completed her doctoral dissertation, funded by Association of American University Women, on Native language education in public schools with mixed Native and non-Native student populations. Some of her publications include articles in Equity and Excellence in Education, Journal of Studies in International, Education Bilingual Research Journal, and Language, Culture and Curriculum, a chapter in International and Multicultural Organizational Communication, and a monograph entitled Organizational Communication in Refugee Camp Situations published by UNHCR. Dr. Ngai is currently engaged in a grant project and a research study that involve the implementation of place-based multicultural education in a primary-school setting in Montana, U.S.A.


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