Ndahoo'ah translates roughly to 'Re-learning/New Learning.'
Ndahoo'ah seeks to explore educational objectives through a
format which teaches, respects and jointly develops both traditional
and modern skills. Throughout Ndahoo'ah, every opportunity is
given to build bridges between traditional and modern skills and
between Navajo and Anglo cultures. The idea is to create an environment
in which the traditional and the modern reinforce each other
rather than clash.
In the process of learning these skills, students are provided numerous opportunities to explore the world of mathematics and to explore specific contexts in which mathematics has real-world applications. The traditional crafts taught during Ndahoo'ah have been the inherent carriers of mathematics in the Navajo culture for many centuries. LOGO specifically, and computer programming in general, are based firmly on logical structures and thinking skills intimately related to mathematics. Thus, the students emerge with an enhanced knowledge of mathematics and computer programming, as well as an improved foundation for future study.
Students experience rich aspects of their culture, reinforcing self-esteem and pride of heritage. At the same time, they explore applications of modern technology which enhance knowledge and understanding of these cultural treasures. Skills are developed which lay the groundwork for future training and careers in a wide variety of areas - from systems analysis or graphic design, to artistic crafts or cultural museum work.
Ndahoo'ah was designed loosely around a conceptual framework proposed by Professor Claudette Bradley (University of Alaska) in her articles :
In these articles, Dr. Bradley outlines the value of exercises
involving design of traditional crafts using the LOGO language.
This concept extended by adding concurrent training in the crafts
discussed in the articles. The Ndahoo'aah staff would like to
thank Dr. Bradley for the training she provided the LOGO instructors
who began the program in 1994.
Ndahoo'ah is structured as a three-and-a-half week program.
The first days are to orient the students to Ndahoo'ah, the
crafts being offered and LOGO, as well as give the students a
chance to give preferences for creating groups. The goal of the
first week is to learn basic skills in LOGO and the chosen craft.
The second week is meant for re-creating an existing craft design
in LOGO, while continuing to develop a craft project under the
supervision of the Elders. The third week is geared toward student-created
designs, both in LOGO and the craft classroom.
Over the years, we've had about 20-45 students in the program per year. The students are in grades 7 through 12. The crafts typically offered are:
Each day is broken into two working sessions: 9:00am to 11:00am, and 11:30am to 1:30pm. For the morning session, some students work with LOGO/Mathematics instructors in the Tech Center while the other students work with the Elders in the craft classrooms. Then, after lunch, the students switch between the Tech Center and the craft classrooms.