(September 20, 2012)

Professor helps teachers connect to Native American learners

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Genell Harris, Centenary Visiting Associate Professor of Education, has published her research on "Helping teachers connect to Native American learners" in Leaders and Learners, Texas ASCD.

Genell Harris

"Meeting a student's needs does not have to be done on some grand scale but can be small actions for various students on any given day," said Harris. "As a teacher builds a caring culture within the classroom, individual needs become more apparent because the teacher has taken the time to get to know each student."

The paper is the result of a research project developed by Harris and three students, two of whom were Native American. The group reviewed over 25 articles and interviewed Native American students, teachers, and other educators involved in teaching Native American youths. From their research and interviews, the group developed recommendations to help teachers better understand Native American students as a learning group.

"All teachers have students with various backgrounds and needs," said Harris. "When a teacher takes into consideration these needs, the learning is more meaningful for the student, and as such, it lasts longer."

Harris has worked in higher education for 20 years and has a background in K-12 education. Prior to joining Centenary, she served as an Associate Professor at Southern Utah University (SUU), where she was named Professor of the Year 2011. Harris is a College of Education Pestalozzi Award winner as well as the recipient of the SUU Scholarship Mentor Award for Undergraduate Research and SUU Student Association Appreciation Award. She has published over 15 scholarly articles.