UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The implementation of an art programme designed to develop cultural awareness among students in an urban native Indian alternate class : a case study Berger, Beverley Ann


This study documents the design and implementation of an art programme in an urban Native Indian alternate class. The programme was designed to develop cultural awareness and to enhance self-concept. To obtain the data, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory and an Art and Culture test were administered to sixteen Native Indian students in grades 5-7. The culture test involved the use of oral questions, "touchable" objects (most of them from the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia), drawings, and pictures. These were chosen because of their relevance to Indian culture generally and in particular to the Kwakiutl culture of majority of the students in the classroom. The art programme involved Native Indian parents as resource people. Artefacts from the U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology, field trips, films, books, and photographs supplemented objectives of each lesson. The post-test responses on the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory generally showed no significant change in scores. During the programme, however, students did show changes in attitude, and increasingly exhibited positive behaviour. The problems encountered in administering both the tests and programme were identified as being in a new school with a new teacher, and varying expectations. Responses on the Art and Culture post test showed a 12% improvement. Background information is provided concerning the history of Indian education in British Columbia and traditional Kwakiutl culture. The literature supports my hypothesis that desire to learn about Indian culture in school is regarded as vital by Indian communities, Indian parents, and Indian and non-Indian educators Studies indicate that, although students may not know much about their culture, they will express an interest in learning more about it. Art can serve as a cultural resource, and as a means of giving recognition to culture in the classroom. Art is an effective way to teach beliefs and values implicit in culture and revealed in art. Difference in culture could mean changes in teaching styles for non-Indian teachers. They must be conscious of and give continuing consideration to the most effective ways to teach Native children. Traditional learning styles are transferable to the contemporary classroom. My study supports this view: Indian children learn best, according to the literature, when they are taught according to their own learning styles: visual, kinesthetic, and learning through observation. When Native culture is taught, using learning and teaching styles effective for Native children, Indian students may increase their achievement across the whole curriculum. This study can assist classroom teachers in teaching Indian culture through art.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.