Listen, Then Talk: Using Conversations about Books of the Year to Model Culturally Responsive Teaching

By Ann Jache Ph.D.

Ann Jache Poster

Context of the Inquiry

APU/UAA’s Books of the Year Program recommended course material on Alaska Native issues directly related to courses I teach. However, traditional methods of instruction and classroom interaction do not always employ Alaska Native ways of learning and may contribute to the disadvantage described in these texts.

The Ford Foundation: Difficult Dialogue Series and Start Talking text, the Ford Foundation: Alaska Native Intensive and the Alaska Education Innovations Network (AEIN) Culturally Responsive Teaching Study Groups offer ways to address these discrepancies.

Focus of the Inquiry

Will structured class discussions, explicit attention to classroom norms about conversational timing, and use of asynchronous technology improve student learning?

Course Artifacts

Course Design and Implementation

Sociology of Aging

Yuuyaraq: Way of the Human Being

Shopping for Porcupine

 by Harold Napoleon

Class Wiki provides opportunity for group project and a chance to reflect

Introduction to Gerontology

Yuuyaraq: Way of the Human Being

eLive class delivery enforces reflection before comments

Introduction to Sociology

The Whale and the Supercomputer

 by Charles Wohlforth

Structured discussions provide each student a voice before dominant students may speak again

Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

The Whale and the Supercomputer

Observations about classroom norms compared to author’s observations about norms of whalers, elders and ice scientists foster deeper learning

Social Change

Shopping for Porcupine

By Seth Kantner

New cross cultural content using Alaska Native issues provides context for reflection and analysis


  • No loss of typical course content compared to previous semesters
  •  Deeper understanding of course concepts when students were given opportunity to compare observations of classroom experiences to cross-cultural descriptions
  • Some student resistance to discussions of Alaska Native issues
  • Evidence of empathy for Alaska Native elders

Course Artifacts


Classroom technology and asynchronous course elements may provide opportunities for reflection

Structured discussions provided voice for typically silent students

Employing examples from Alaska Native experience and history contributes to empathy and deeper learning about required course concepts

Course Artifacts

Faculty Contact

Ann Jache Ph.D.
Sociology, Liberal Studies, Gerontology
University of Alaska Anchorage
SSB 374
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, ALaska 99508-4669