Cultural appropriateness in education and development : the case of the 4-H Yukon River Fisheries Education and Youth Development Program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nc580q10m

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  • The 4-H Yukon River Fisheries Education and Youth Development Program is a federally funded youth-at-risk program created to help youth escape from the social ills of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, and suicide that plague rural Alaskan villages. By providing youth the opportunity to learn the skills needed to protect and improve the salmon fishery of the Yukon River drainage and offering them hope for their future, the program is developing the human resources needed to manage the natural resources of the region. The program also provides youth with the education to make choices for their careers and lifestyle. Given the strong cultural influence of the Athabascan people in the area, the program also strives to balance cultural traditions with the technology for development. The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze the process used in planning, implementing and evaluating a nonformal education program in a rural Athabascan village in terms of its effectiveness and cultural appropriateness. The study focused on the program in the village of Kaltag, Alaska. Using ethnographic methods guided by Coombs and Ahmed's (1974) "Guidelines for Preparing Case Studies of Nonformal Education in Rural Areas" and Nelson's (1982) "Descriptive Profile of Culturally Appropriate Instructional Resources", the study sought to provide a rich description of the program so that other villages of the region and state can determine whether or not a similar program would benefit the youth in their community. Respondents in this study indicated the program was both effective and culturally appropriate. Three themes related to cultural appropriateness emerged during this study: 1) community support, 2) relevance to community needs, and 3) program integration with the school. These themes are interrelated and interdependent and are related to the program's effectiveness and cultural appropriateness. In addition, the program's transferability to other communities may be determined by these three themes. Recommendations for further study include a comparative study to determine if these same themes or others have the same importance in villages implementing the program elsewhere.
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