Teresa L. McCarty, University of California, Los Angeles - Lyle Spencer Research Award

What can Indigenous-language immersion programs teach us about education practice for Native American learners?

What We’re Learning

Teresa L. McCarty (University of California, Los Angeles) – Lyle Spencer Research Award

Indigenous-Language Immersion and Native American Student Achievement

What can a study of Indigenous-language immersion (ILI) teach us to improve education practice and outcomes for Native American learners? This four-year, mixed-method, multisite study will investigate ILI, a promising instructional innovation with over three decades of implementation history for which a systematic national database is lacking. The study’s rationale stems from rapid changes in Native American students’ sociolinguistic environments—in particular, Indigenous-language loss among younger generations—coupled with enduring achievement disparities for Native students as a group. In response, many Native communities have turned to ILI schooling, an approach in which all or most academic content is engaged through the Indigenous language, and in which culture-based instruction plays a prominent role. The study includes:Teresa L. McCarty, University of California, Los Angeles - Lyle Spencer Research Award

Each ILI/non-ILI pair will provide estimates of the effects of immersion on OTL and outcomes of interest. Our goal is to illuminate how, when, for whom, and why ILI may be beneficial. In answering these questions, the study will significantly advance our understanding of the factors that contribute to improved quality of education practice for diverse underserved Native American students. On a larger scale, the study offers a rich opportunity to better understand program variation and its education effects. Equally important, the study will support Native communities in strengthening their language education efforts, and will help us imagine how educators, community members, and policymakers can collaboratively capitalize on linguistic and cultural diversity to enhance education for all learners.

Teresa L. McCarty
University of California, Los Angeles, Principal Investigator

Tiffany S. Lee 
University of New Mexico, Co-Principal Investigator

Sheilah E. Nicholas 
University of Arizona, Co-Principal Investigator

Michael H. Seltzer 
University of California, Lost Angeles, Co-Principal Investigator

Teresa L. McCarty

Teresa L. McCarty is the George F. Kneller Chair in Education and Anthropology, and Affiliate Faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research, teaching, and outreach focus on Indigenous education, language planning and policy, and the ethnography of education in and out of schools. She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), International Centre for Language Revitalization, and Society for Applied Anthropology. The past editor of the American Educational Research Journal section on Social and Institutional Analysis, she is coeditor of the Journal of American Indian Education. She has directed research grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. Her books include A Place To Be Navajo – Rough Rock and the Struggle for Self-Determination in Indigenous Schooling (Erlbaum, 2002), "To Remain an Indian": Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (with K. T. Lomawaima, Teachers College Press, 2006), Ethnography and Language Policy (Routledge, 2011), Language Planning and Policy in Native America (Multilingual Matters, 2013), Indigenous Language Revitalization in the Americas (with S. Coronel-Molina, Routledge, 2016), and The Anthropology of Education Policy: Ethnographic Inquiries into Policy as Sociocultural Process (with A.E. Castagno, Routledge, 2018). In 2010 she received the Council on Anthropology and Education’s George and Louise Spindler Award for distinguished contributions to educational anthropology, and in 2015 she gave AERA’s 12th Annual Brown Lecture, So That Any Child May Succeed—Indigenous Pathways Toward Justice and the Promise of Brown.

Co PI Tiffany S. Lee

Tiffany S. Lee is Dibé Łizhiní (Blacksheep Diné) from Crystal, New Mexico and Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. She is a former high school social studies and language arts teacher. Currently, Dr. Lee is Professor and Associate Director of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Her research examines educational and culturally based outcomes of Indigenous language immersion schools, Native youth perspectives on language reclamation, and socio-culturally centered education. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Education, Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Language, Identity, and Education and Journal of American Indian Education; and in books such as Indigenous Youth and Multilingualism: Language Identity, Ideology, and Practice in Dynamic Cultural Worlds (Routledge, 2014) and Diné Perspectives: Revitalizing and Reclaiming Navajo Thought (University of Arizona Press, 2014), and Indigenous Language Revitalization in the Americas (Routledge, 2016). She is the former President of the Navajo Studies Conference, Inc. Board of Directors and a current member of the New Mexico Indian Education Advisory Council for the Office of Indian Education, New Mexico Public Education Department.

Co PI Sheilah E. Nicholas

Sheilah E. Nicholas is a member of the Hopi Tribe. An Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona, she teaches courses on Indigenous oral traditions, culture-based education, language and culture in education, teacher research, and linguistic minority education. The focus of her scholarly work include: Indigenous/Hopi language and epistemologies, Indigenous/Hopi youth linguistic ecology, Indigenous/Hopi language maintenance and reclamation, Indigenous language teacher preparation, and cultural and linguistic issues in American Indian education. Her scholarship has been published in numerous edited volumes and in Review of Educational Research, American Indian Culture and Research Quarterly, Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, Language Policy, and International Multilingual Research Journal. Her current publication agenda draws on her work in planning and implementing a Hopi language teacher education and professional development program as consultant-instructor for the Hopi Tribe’s Hopilavayi Summer Institute (2004-2010). Her upcoming research will investigate the role and responsibility of schools in language reclamation efforts with a focus on the negotiation of federal, state and tribal educational policies. She has assisted numerous tribal communities interested in immersion teaching as field researcher and current consultant-instructor for the Indigenous Language Institute.

Co PI Michael H. Seltzer

Michael H. Seltzer is a Professor in the Social Research Methodology program in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in the use of multilevel models in investigating variation in treatment effects in multi-site studies of educational programs, and in analyzing longitudinal data. His methodological work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Evaluation Review, and Psychological Methods, and his collaborative work on substantive projects has been published in journals in a number of fields including Reading Research Quarterly, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Research on Mathematics Education. From 2008-2013 he served as Co-Director of a doctoral training grant program in advanced quantitative methods at UCLA funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and he currently serves as a consultant on a project funded by IES focusing on the development of novel estimation strategies for addressing measurement error issues in educational assessment and evaluation studies. He teaches courses in multilevel modeling and causal inference, and an interdisciplinary course focusing on the philosophical underpinnings of inquiry.

Teresa L. McCarty

Lee, T.S., & McCarty, T.L. (2017). Upholding Indigenous education sovereignty through critical culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy. In D. Paris & S. Alim (Eds.), Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world (pp. 61-82). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

McCarty, T.L. (2015). How the logic of gap discourse perpetuates education inequality: A view from the ethnography of language policy.Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 25(1), 70-72.

McCarty, T.L. (2012). Indigenous languages and cultures in Native American student achievement: Promising practices and cautionary findings. In B. Klug (Ed.), Standing Together: American Indian education as culturally responsive pedagogy (pp. 97-119). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

McCarty, T.L. (2009). The impact of high-stakes accountability policies on Native American learners: Evidence from research. Teaching Education, 20(1), 1-23.

McCarty, T.L., & Nicholas, S.E. (2014). Reclaiming Indigenous languages—A reconsideration of the roles and responsibilities of schoolsReview of Research in Education, 38, 106-136.

McCarty, T.L., Mancevice, N., Lemire, S., & O’Neil, H.F., Jr. (2017) Education research for a new century: A renewed vision of interdisciplinarityAmerican Educational Research Journal, 54(1S), 5S-22S.

McCarty, T.L., Nicholas, S.E., & Wyman, L.T. (2015). 50(0) years out and counting: Locating “heritage” in heritage language education for Native American learners. International Multilingual Research Journal, 9(4), 227-252.

McIvor, O., & McCarty, T.L. (2016). Indigenous bilingual and revitalization-immersion education in Canada and the USA. In O. García & A. Lin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education vol. 5: Bilingual and multilingual education (3rd ed.) (pp. 1-17). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International. 

Tiffany S. Lee

Lee. T.S. (2017). “In school I learn from A-H, but the world is A-Z”: Promoting educational relevance, equity, and sovereignty through community-engaged learning. In J. Reyhner, J. Martin, L. Lockard, & W.S. Gilbert (Eds.), Honoring our teachers (pp. 9-18). Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University.

Lee, T.S. (2017) Native American Studies: A place of community. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 13(1), 18-25.

Lee, T. S. (2016). The home-school-community interface in language revitalization: Canada and the United States. In S.M. Coronel-Molina & T.L.McCarty (Eds.), Indigenous language revitalization in the Americas(pp. 99-115). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lee, T.S. (2015). The significance of self-determination in socially, culturally, and linguistically responsive (SCLR) education in Indigenous contexts. Journal of American Indian Education, 54(1), 10-32.

Lee, T. S. & McCarty, T. L. (2015). Bilingual/multilingual education and Indigenous peoples. In W. Wright, S. Boun, & O. Garcia (Eds.), Handbook on Bilingual and Multilingual Education (pp. 409-427). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Lee, T.S. (2014). “If I could speak Navajo, I’d definitely speak it 24/7”: Diné youth language consciousness, activism and reclamation of Diné identity. In L. Lee (Ed.), Diné perspectives: Revitalizing and reclaiming Navajo thought (pp. 158-169). Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Lee, T. S. (2014) Critical language awareness among Native youth in New Mexico. In L. T. Wyman, T. L. McCarty, & S. E. Nicholas (Eds.) Indigenous youth and multilingualism: Language identity, ideology, and practice in dynamic cultural worlds (pp. 130-148). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lee, T.S., & McCarty, T.L. (2017). Upholding Indigenous education sovereignty through critical culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy. In D. Paris & H. Alim (Eds.), Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world (pp. 61-82). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

McCarty, T.L., & Lee, T.S. (2015). The role of schools in Indigenous cultural and linguistic revitalization. In W. J. Jacob, S.Y.Cheng, & M.K. Porter (Eds.) Indigenous education: Language, culture, and identity(pp. 341-360). New York, NY: Springer.

McCarty, T.L., & Lee, T.S. (2014). Critical culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy and Indigenous education sovereignty. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 101-124.

Sheilah E. Nicholas

Nicholas, S. E. (forthcoming). The Hopilavayi Summer Institute: A tribal model of assistance for heritage language teacher preparation. In C. Galla & M.E. Romero-Little (Eds.), He Waʻa Ke Kula; Na Ka ʻŌlelo E Uli (Schools are canoes; Language steers them). Stabilizing Indigenous Language Symposium Series.

Nicholas, S. E. (in press). Practicing being and living Hopi: Language and cultural practices of contemporary Hopi youth. In G. Wigglesworth & J. Simpson (Eds.), From home to school: Language practices of Indigenous children. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nicholas, S. E. (2016). Hopi youth wanting in tradition: Seeking the “missing piece”—The heritage language. Native Studies Review Journal. Indigenous People’s Health and Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.

Nicholas, S. E. (2010) Language, epistemology and cultural identity: ‘Hopiqatsit aw unangvakiwyungwa,’ ‘To have one’s heart in the Hopi way of life.’ American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 34(2), 125-144.

Nicholas, S. E. (2009). “I live Hopi, I just don’t speak it —The critical intersection of language, culture, and identity in the contemporary lives of Hopi youth. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 8(5), 321-334.

Michael H. Seltzer

Seltzer, M. (1994). Studying variation in program success: A multilevel modeling approach. Evaluation Review, 18, 342-361.

Seltzer, M. (2004). The use of hierarchical models in analyzing data from experiments and quasi-experiments conducted in field settings. In D. Kaplan (Ed.), Handbook of Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences (pp. 259-280). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Seltzer, M., & Rose, M. (2011). Constructing analyses: The development of thoughtfulness in working with quantitative methods. In C. Conrad & R. Serlin (Eds.), Handbook for Research in Education: Engaging Ideas and Enriching Inquiry (2nd ed.) (pp. 245-262). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Seltzer, M. (2012). Comments on Statistical Analysis for Multi-site Trials Using Instrumental Variables with Random Coefficients, by S. Raudenbush, S. Reardon & T. Nomi. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 5, 338-341.

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