An assessment of congruence between learning styles of Cree, Dene, Metis and non-Native students and instructional styles of Native and non-Native teachers in selected northern Saskatchewan schools
The purpose of this study was to assess the congruence between the learning styles of Division III Cree, Dene, Metis and non-Native students, and the instructional styles of Native and non-Native teachers In Nothern Saskatchewan schools. The data for this study were collected by administering Canfield's Learning Styles Inventory and Canfield's Instructional Styles Inventory in six Northern Saskatchewan schools. The total sample of 464 consisted of 385 students and 79 teachers; the student sample was comprised of 81 Cree, 65 Dene, 134 Metis and 105 non-Native students, while the teacher sample consisted of 15 Native teachers and 64 non-Native teachers. The independent variables in this study were culture, sex and age; and the dependent variables were the 16 learning/instructional style scales, predicted levels of student academic performance and perceived responsibility of teachers for the students' learning process. The nine hypotheses posed in the study were tested by an examination of mean scores on 16 inventory scales; and by using one-way ANOVA with accompanying Newman-Keuls comparisons between ordered means. Overall differences in the sample of students and teachers classified by culture, sex and age were assessed by discriminant analysis. The findings of this study must be considered in relation to the following limitations: the size and nature of the sample, the difficulty of assessing learning/instructional style, and the existence of cultural bias. The major question of the study asked whether preferred instructional styles of Native and non-Native teachers were congruent or incongruent with the preferred learning styles of Cree, Dene, Metis and non-Native students. It was found that neither group of teachers was congruent with all components of learning style preferences in any student group, but both Native and non-Native teachers were congruent on more than 50 percent of all components. There was strong evidence in the study however that Native teachers were congruent with all student groups on a greater number of components than was true for non-Native teachers. Native teachers were congruent with all student groups in 54 (84.4%) out of 64 possible learning/instructional style components. The congruency rate for non-Native teachers was 40 out of 64 instances, or 62.5%. Certain components of learning style differed among students of Cree, Dene, Metis and non-Native backgrounds, with the Dene most different from the non-Native group. The Cree and the Metis were similar to each other, and fell midway between the Dene and the non-Native students. In sum, differences were found among the groups of Native students (free, Dene and Metis), as well as between the Native and the non-Native students. Although culture was found to relate to learning style, sex appeared to be an even stronger variable influencing student learning style preferences. Age was found to relate to the learning styles of the Dene and non-Native students but not of their Cree and Metis counterparts. The Cree and Metis students held the lowest expectations for their academic performance. The Dene students exceeded the Cree and Metis groups. The points of difference in instructional style indicated that non-Native teachers preferred to teach from logically and clearly organized materials, whereas Native teachers were more likely to encourage students to work independently. No other differences were found between cultural groups. Male and female teachers were found to prefer, to a modest degree, different approaches to teaching at only certain age levels. Female teachers at all age levels reacted more negatively to teaching about inanimate objects than did males. Younger female teachers preferred teaching by having students read written material and by teaching students about working with people, while males of the same age were more Interested in teaching by the experiential approach. In scores on teacher responsibility for the students' learning process, no differences were found among teachers classified by culture, sex and age. The teacher group as a whole appeared to share similar perceptions about their responsibility for student learning. This study showed that culture, sex and age related to differences in instructional style of teachers in patterns similar to the ways in which the variables influenced learning style among students. Among students, sex Influenced student preferred learning style to a greater degree than did cultural background by itself. Age was of second importance. Among teachers, sex was found to be the most important variable followed by culture and age, both of which were of similar degree of importance. Cultural background as an Isolated variable was relatively unimportant in relation to either learning or instructional style.
Instructional styles, Schools - Saskatchewan (Northern), Learning styles, Natives and non-Natives - Educational experiences, Teaching and learning, Native students - Saskatchewan (Northern), Native teachers - Saskatchewan (Northern)
Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Indian and Northern Education
Indian and Northern Education