CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Investigation into the Relationship Between Culturally Based Software and the Self-Esteem of Cherokee Students

Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Donald O. Travis

Abstract

American Indians have had the highest dropout rate from school of any ethnic group, regardless of region or tribal affiliation (Sanders, 1987). Lack of cognitive or academic ability has not been seen as a major factor. Several authors have suggested the main factor to be low self-esteem (Lutlig, 1983; Giles, 1985). The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of a cultural awareness software program would increase the self-esteem of third and fourth grade Native American students of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation as measured by the Piers-Harris Children's Self- Concept Scale. Two classes each from the third and fourth grades from the Cherokee School of Cherokee, North Carolina were selected to use a HyperCard stack containing 20 oral legends of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation for a period of 10 school weeks (50 days). A total of 176 students participated in the study. All participants were administered the Harris-Piers Children's Self-Concept Scale before and after the 10 week study.

At first there appeared to be no significant difference between the control and the experimental groups, until the post test scores were subtracted from the pre-test scores of the experimental group. Applying the t-test to compare the mean of "increase" yielded an important result. Even though the increased mean was small, it was a statistically significant increase (p < .05; in fact, p is zero to 4 digits). The results support the concept that culturally aware software will help to increase self-esteem. The recommendations drawn from this study were to:

  1. increase the length of the study
  2. expand the study into the surrounding public school community
  3. Improve and develop more culturally aware software, and
  4. develop student study materials to accompany the software.

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