Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Maryellen McClain Verdoes


Maryellen McClain Verdoes


Melissa Tehee


Breanne K. Litts


There is a need to develop cultural competence in educational settings. While there is a focus on training K-12 educators to be culturally competent, there is little focus on developing and examining the impact of student cultural competence training. Integrating Indigenous knowledge in an education setting is a unique way to start developing cultural competency by recognizing cross-cultural worldviews and perspectives. This can be done while using place-based education, which links the classroom to the cultural environment that has significant meaning to Indigenous peoples while enriching the learning experience for all students. The current study examines and measures the development of cultural competence among students from a culturally disruptive pedagogy that uses Indigenous knowledge and a diverse place-based field experience. Participants were sixth-grade students (N= 39) from an elementary school in northern Utah. The students participated in a field experience to the San Juan region located on the boarder of the Navajo Nation and participated in Indigenous knowledge lessons. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine the development of cultural competency across three time points throughout the school year. Findings showed significant differences in student perspective-taking, but no significant differences in other domains of cultural competence. The current study brings awareness to the development of cultural competence among youth through Indigenous knowledge and a place-based learning field experience.



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