Indigenous Science Network

July, 1999


In this issue of the Indigenous Science Network, I am focusing on the three recent conferences which have been attended by some members. I was given a copy of the program for IOSTE, which does not contain the abstracts. I have used it to indicate that the following papers and workshops might be of interest, and the authors' email addresses if you are interested in contacting them.


IOSTE 9: 26 June - 2 July 1999

Barriers to accomodating culture in science classrooms
Glen Aikenhead and B Huntley

Preparing science teachers for linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms
R P Chetty

Ideas about living and non-living: An Indian cross-cultural study
S Chunawala

Prospective primary teacher's planning for scence and technology activities: Influences of background and world view
D Davies & M Rogers

Equible science and technology education in the post-modern era: Four critical issues
O Jegede & W C Kyle Jr

The impact of traditional, indigenous and new technologies on science and technology education for sustainable development
A Nchesi & M Savage

Ethno-botany of a rural community in Honduras
C Nelson

Kormilda science project
Theo Read


CONASTA 48: 5-8 JULY 1999

The Importance of Science Education for Indigenous Students
Diane Russell, Peter Russell
Anangu Education Services

'Scientific ways of thinking and problem-solving are deeply ingrained in how we think and act, day by day. Scientific approaches are used, often unknowingly, by most people'. Most of us would agree with this statement which comes from the National Science Statement but it does not apply to Anangu and many other indigenous people.Anangu, who live in the far north west of South Australia and the adjoining areas in the NT and WA, base their lives on different beliefs, values and concepts from most non-Anangu. However, their elders have decided that the young must learn the 'the secrets of the white fella way' in order to achieve self-determination. What skills do these students need and how does Science Education support their acquisition? Is the same true for indigenous students in mainstream schools? These are the questions this paper seeks to explore.

Aboriginal Perspectives in Science - the flight of the boomerang
Chris Nobbs
Education Officer, SA Museum

Aboriginal use of taxonomies and classification, and minerals used by Aboriginal people. Workshop participants will receive background information on these topics and an introduction to resource based teaching and learning strategies for use in teaching Aboriginal perspectives in science.

Aboriginal Perspectives on Science and Knowledge
Linda Cooper
Interactive Exhibits and Educational Initiatives

All cultures generate and accumulate a knowledge of science and an interpretation of 'how the world works'. Indigenous Australians' knowledge of the land and natural phenomena is an integral part of their culture, and of their science. The applications of this knowledge have lead to the development of innovative technologies or 'lifestyle practices'. Science is indeed universal and all cultures have contributed to its development in different ways because of our differing world views. This presentation will illustrate this knowledge with practical examples that are part of contemporary 'living' Indigenous society. It will also outline a program of innovative science education resources being developed in association with The INVESTIGATOR Science and Technology Centre for schools and communities across Australia.

The Kormilda Science Project
Theo Read, Parkdale Secondary College
Daryl Rose, Gunditjmara Community, Heywood

Participants will be introduced to the Kormilda Science Project, a semester length unit of middle school Earth Science. The project aims to impart main stream scientific skills and knowledge while providing an improved understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal culture. The science content is integrated within an Aboriginal cultural context. The Project has been a collaborative exercise with three diverse Aboriginal communities. The science content complies with both the Australian National Science Curriculum guidelines and the Victorian Curriculum Standards Frameworks. The aspects of Aboriginality involve material of a contemporary nature and relate to elements of oral history that provide a traditional creation account of natural landscape features; traditional art forms and their interpretation, and traditional utilisation of land and water resources. Participants will also trial sample student activities.

Our Land, Our Future: an education kit for remote Aborignial and Islander Communities across Australia about Minerals and Mining Operations
Linda Cooper

This education kit has been commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia for remote schools of Australia, the majority of which are in close proximity to Mining and Exploration activity. Research has shown that existing education materials about minerals, mining and mining operations are not appropriate for Aboriginal and Islander students and in some cases, teachers, living in remote areas of Australia. This kit has been developed in close consultation with Aboriginal people and has been designed to relate more to the learning experiences of these students. This workshop talks about how these materials were made more appropriate and assist teachers with the most appropriate ways to use the kit in the classroom or community environment.


ASERA: 8-11 JULY 1999

Weaving a new Technology Curriculum in Namibia: working from the inside out or the outside in?
Beverley Jane and Patricia Rowell
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood VIC 3125 Australia
Tel: 03 9244 6394 Fax: 03 9244 6834

Craft and Technology (NIED, 1996) is a new subject in the Namibian curriculum. In 1998 the lower primary phase was introduced for the first time in Grade 3. We observed technology classes during our stay in the northern regions of Namibia, where the majority of the country's children live. International aid donors are working there to raise the standard of education. As part of the USAID Basic Education Project (BES), materials are being developed, such as the Systematic-designed, Structured Instructional Materials (SIMS) which include lesson plans, posters and assessment. Through the BES project, Peace Corps Volunteers work with teachers in schools. We observed one, Peace Corps Volunteer, delivering core training to the teachers in her cluster of schools in the form of workshops and providing feedback to individual teachers in order to improve their classroom teaching. In this paper we describe, from our perspective, the complex and problematic nature of implementing a new technology curriculum in a developing country with outsiders as facilitators. Simultaneously, we celebrate the successes which indicate that Namibian teachers are moving in the right direction.

Teacher Perceptions of Factors influencing Implementation of Science in the New Zealand Curriculum
Brian Lewthwaite
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11-035
Palmerston North 5030 New Zealand
Tel: 06 357 9104 Fax: 06 3569032

The recent release of findings from New Zealand's participation in TIMSS has revealed not only the disturbing level of science achievement by Form 2 and Form 3 students , but also associated concerns with science programme delivery in general. This report further examines this result and is based on a survey of 122 primary/intermediate/Kura Kaupapa teachers in the Central Districts of the North Island of New Zealand.The report includes an analysis of (1) concept areas teachers receive as difficult to teach, (2) factors contributing to and/or inhibiting effective implementation of the primary science curriculum and ( 3) biographical details of survey participants.Also included is a discussion of the appropriateness of recent Ministry of Education's efforts to address the malady in New Zealand primary science education.

Mere, Hori, Mair, Meré and Mary: Maori Women Scientists Reflecting on Science Education
Elizabeth McKinley
University of Waikato
CSMTER Centre
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton 2020 New Zealand
Tel: 07 838 4245 Fax: 07 838 4272

Science, and its practice, has always marginalized some groups since it became a formal institution. These groups, historically, have included people from cultures other than that through which science emerged and women. This paper will explore the experiences of Maori women scientists in science education, drawing from a wider postcolonial study, examining the effects of colonization on the participation of Maori women in science. The women cover a wide range of ages and education types, such as single sex schools (state and private, Maori and non- Maori), English medium and Maori medium schooling. The paper will explore the issues raised by the sixteen Maori women scientists in relation to schooling generally and, in particular, science education and discuss the implications for classroom research.

Interfacing Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge: A Northern Territory Perspective
Michael Michie & Mark Linkson
Northern Territory Department of Education
GPO Box 4821
Darwin NT 0801
Tel: 08 8999 6441

Three initiatives for the implementation of primary science education in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory are described. These attempt to value Indigenous knowledge alongside Western science learning. These are
1. A curriculum which places a higher value on Indigenous knowledge other than simply 'enrich' Western science
2. Resource materials which parallel the experiences of Indigenous learners with Western understandings and which are inclusive of Indigenous cultural considerations
3. An attempt to facilitate profiling of Westerns science learning outcome in the context of a holistic curriculum.

Students' and Teachers' Views on the Relation between School Science Education and Traditional Science and Technology of Korea
Sang-Woo Park & Sung-Jae Pak
Seoul National University
Department of Physics Education
Kwan Ak-Gu Silim-Dong 151-742
Seoul South Korea
Tel: 880 8817 Fax: 880 9754
Email: pk1966@chollian.net

Science education in Korea is modeled on that of the West, since modern western science was introduced to Korea for industrializing the country in the 1960's in earnest. The purpose of this study was to find out students' and teachers' views on the relation between school science education and traditional science and technology of Korea. For this study, 72 middle school students were surveyed and 12 of them and 4 teachers were interviewed. Consequently, most students and teachers expressed that traditional science and technology is very unique, originative, and useful. It is also helpful to understand our traditional culture. On the other hand, some students thought that it is not related to school science and not useful to learn a scientific concept.

The Quiet Achiever: Enacting Culturally Relevant Science Teaching in an American Urban Middle School
Kathryn Scantlebury, Kenneth Tobin, Jane Butler Kahle and Julic Ague
University of Delaware
Newark DE 19716 USA
Tel: 302n 8314546 Fax: 302 8316335

The purpose of the study is to examine culturally pedagogy in a context of the teaching of science in an American, urban, middle school. In particular, this study endeavors to provide a thick description of how a middle class white female used culturally relevant pedagogy in her teaching of African American students.Janet is a petite, white woman with an inner strength and a quiet sense of humor and fun that come out in her teaching. Her approach to teaching and personal style is reminiscent of a "Quiet Achiever." Janet's belief that her students can learn science is reflected in her teaching practices and caring attitude towards her students. Her excellent classroom management provides an infrastructure for students to succeed and recognize their academic and personal potential. From Janet, her students are developing the cultural tools they need to remain successful in science. The state and district where in Janet teaches is conservative body. The district mandates the science curriculum, and that curriculum is reflective of the 'politics of assimilation' that continues to support an educational infrastructure that views school science as a subculture of Western society. Within this context, Janet teaches her students with respect, so that they can succeed in science.


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