Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

William G. Neal


William G. Neal


The primary goal of vocational education is to prepare the student to successfully enter the world of work. While the present educational structure seems to work well for most Anglo-American students, there is evidence that the system is not effective with minority students. For example , in the case of Navajo students in government-sponsored technical schools, the dropout rate (60 percent) suggests that for Native American students there are serious problems in the educational process which need to be investigated and understood.

Because of the sharply different cultural background of the Navajo student a formidable barrier frequently exists between student and educator , and the quality of their relationship is impaired. Furthermore, a lack of understanding of the sociocultural background of the Navajo student frequently affects the attitudes and the behavior of the teacher.

Problems affecting the success of the Navajo student in school also extend into the work experience situation when he enters into the work world. Thus, the traditional background of the Navajo student can be an important factor in the success or failure of his work adjustment and work performance.

Many aspects of life have a significant influence on behavior; therefore, any understanding of employee behavior must be preceded by study and understanding of the culture in which they live ... basic values are so well ingrained that they are very difficult to change, even before a person finishes high school. They influence the amount of education one seeks, how hard one works on the job, and the way in which one cooperates with fellow workers and managers. The basic relationship is that culture off the job affects on-the-job performance.