The cultural divide in science education for Aboriginal learners (2007)

Lessons in Learning - February 1, 2007

Aboriginal people in Canada are sharply underrepresented in science and engineering occupations. As well, Aboriginal students take advanced high school science classes and enrol in science-related postsecondary programs at much lower rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

This paper suggests that this disparity may have cultural roots. The Aboriginal world view sees people, landscape, and living resources as a spiritual whole, while, in contrast, the Western science approach seeks greater understanding through breaking apart the whole and analyzing it into its smallest parts. These cultural differences can create difficulties for Aboriginal students in classrooms dominated by the Western science perspective.

The authors suggest integrating Aboriginal content into science classrooms and taking a flexible approach that allows local knowledge to be used alongside textbook knowledge. They suggest consulting with local elders about how best to integrate traditional knowledge into the curriculum.

They also describe current initiatives in both Canada and the United States that are integrating Aboriginal perspectives into curricula and looking at ways to encourage Aboriginal people to pursue further education in scientific fields.

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Added: 
2013-02-25
APA citation
Canadian Council on Learning (CCL). The cultural divide in science education for Aboriginal learners 2007. Web. 17 Jan. 2021 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/lessons_learning/cultural_divide/cultural_divide.pdf>
Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) (2007). The cultural divide in science education for Aboriginal learners. Retrieved January 17, 2021, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/lessons_learning/cultural_divide/cultural_divide.pdf
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