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Adult Education Conversation Charts

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 19 Nov 2013

Biographical History

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, part of the United States Department of the Interior, has a long history of involvement in the education of Native Americans. Prior to 1928 the emphasis of such education was on assimilation, in many cases through boarding schools far from the students' tribal homelands; Native American language and traditions were suppressed in favor of Western European values and culture and the English language. The Meriam Report in 1928 altered this, recommending a shift to local schools and vocational training that would provide students with skills and education useful in both traditional communities (usually rural) and in American society in general. By the 1960s another shift had taken place, towards a more academic curriculum. As part of this, the Bureau devoted a considerable amount of effort to ensuring that students were fluent in English:

"Because so many of our students come from homes where English is not regularly spoken, we have to concern ourselves not merely with instruction in reading and writing but also with developing the ability to speak English fluently and understand it through the ear. Right now we are giving a great deal of attention to this problem and experimenting with a number of comparatively new techniques..." (from "The Education Mission of the Bureau of Indian Affairs" by Philleo Nash, published in the Journal of American Indian Education, Volume 3 Number 2, January 1964)

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Adult Education Conversation Charts consists of several dozen large illustrated charts designed by the Material Preparation Department of the Adult Education Program at its Field Technology Section in Brigham City, Utah. The charts were used to teach conversational English in a variety of practical areas, including job management, nutrition, family budget, and parent/teacher relations. The captions indicate that the charts were used with Choctaw, Navajo, and Papago students. They are undated, but likely from the 1960s.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to adult education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Bureau of Indian Affairs.


Adult education.
Education and state -- North America.
English language -- Spoken English -- Study and teaching.
English language -- Study and teaching -- Charts, diagrams, etc.
Indians of North America -- Education.

Genres and Forms

Instructional materials.
Technical illustrations.
Visual aids (education tools)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Adult Education Conversation Charts,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


Table of Contents

Teaching material