Indigenous Science Network Bulletin

June 2001 (Volume 4, Number 3)

Editor: Michael Michie


The Status and Quality of Teaching and Learning of Science in Australian Schools. A Research Report prepared for the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

Denis Goodrum (Edith Cowan University), Mark Hackling (Edith Cowan University) and Léonie Rennie (Curtin University of Technology)

This report can be downloaded from the DETYA website, This has changed from the website I e-mailed earlier.

It comes in two sections, the report and references/case studies, and is about 330 pages in total. Both parts can be downloaded as pdf files. Case study 6 looks at Science curriculum resources inclusive of Indigenous culture, which was Mark Linkson's project for the NT Board of Studies, completed in 1999.


Australian Indigenous Education Conference

The papers from last year's Australian Indigenous Education Conference (held in April 2000) are now available on the conference website. Some are refereed papers and others are abstracts only.

They can be found at


American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2001

This conference was held in Seattle in April and one of the sessions was on Sociocultural Issues in Science Education. The following papers were presented at the session and paper proposals can be found at the website,

  • Assessing African American and Latino Elementary Students' Conceptual Understanding of Science: Challenges and Triumphs. Amy Cox-Petersen, California State University, Fullerton; Joanne K. Olson, Iowa State University
  • Language of poverty strategies in elementary urban science education. Bobby Jeanpierre, University of Minnesota
  • Neglected voices: Students with disabilities in science classrooms. Loraine Spenciner, University of Maine at Farmington; Libby G. Cohen, University of Southern ME; Nancy Lightbody, University of Southern ME
  • Mixing metaphors: Science, culture and globalization. Elizabeth McKinley, University of Waikato; Kathryn Scantlebury, University of Delaware; Joce Jesson, Auckland College of Education
  • Grabbing the interest of girls: African American 8th graders and authentic science. Margaret Eisenhart, University of Colorado-Boulder; Leslie Edwards, University of Colorado-Boulder

For other papers from the conference, visit the AERA website.


Other research papers

The following two papers were written by Peter Ninnes at the School of Education Studies, University of New England

  • Ninnes, P. 2000. Representations of indigenous knowledges in secondary school science textsbooks in Australia and Canada. International Journal of Science Education, 22(6), 603-617.
  • Ninnes, P. 2001. Representations of ways of knowing in junior high school science texts used in Australia. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 22(1), 81-94.


Ohkee Lee. (1999). Science Knowledge, World Views, and Information Sources in Social and Cultural Contexts: Making Sense After a Natural Disaster. American Educational Research Journal, 36(2), 187-219 Sum 1999 (abstract from

This study examined children's views of the world after they personally experienced a natural disaster -- specifically, Hurricane Andrew in South Florida during the summer of 1992. The study addressed three issues: (a) children's knowledge of the hurricane; (b) children's views of the world, especially the casuality of the hurricane; and (c) children's sources of information in social and cultural contexts. The study was conducted in the early spring of 1994. It involved 127 fourth and fifth grade students in two elementary schools located in areas that were particularly hard hit by the hurricane. The student sample was representative of various ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender backgrounds. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used for data collection and analysis. Results indicate significant differences as well as similarities in children's knowledge, world views, and information sources by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. Implications for promoting scientific literacy for all students, including socially and culturally diverse students, are discussed.



Sharing our pathways is the newsletter of the Alaskan Native Knowledge Network and often contains information of interest to people on this Network. Copies of the newsletter can be obtained in HTML or PDF formats from the website,

The report on a recent forum on culturally responsive curriculum may be of interest to some readers. It is in volume 6, issue 3. (I have had trouble downloading the pdf versions of the newsletter. Ed.)


Secret English

In the October issue I mentioned a book by Richard Trudgen, Why warriors lay down and die. One of his reasons for difficulties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples was that there was a lack of understanding of each other's conceptual language. I have suggested that conceptual language is part of what has been called 'secret English' (McConnel & Michie, 2000). I recently found a conference paper by Judy Ah Wong entitled Secret English: The dialect and dialectic of power, where she suggests that secret English is not just conceptual language but that there are also power relationships that relate to its use.

The paper can be found at



For Darwin readers, there are regular seminars held by the Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the Northern Territory University. For information about the seminars, contact Helen Latter.

  • 6th June 2001 Noel Preece and Tom Vigilante (CINCRM student discussion group NOT full seminar.)
  • 13th June 2001 Robyn Williams - "Why Warriors Lie Down and Die"
  • 20th June 2001 Marc Wohling - "Finding our way home: thinking about traditional ecological knowledge"
  • 1st August Kim Hill, ATSIC Regional Commissioner - "Treaty" (title to be advised)
  • ? August "Itinerants Project" - a Community based research project into itinerants in the Darwin Region.




6th International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference, Denver, 7-11 Nov 2001

Importantly, a 1,000 word summary of proposed papers needs to be sent as an attachment to the conference chair, Bill McComas, by 1 June. MS Word is the preferred format, and the attached file should have author's surname as the file name.

Papers dealing with theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in science and mathematics education are welcome. They must be informed by the history, philosophy and sociology of science and/or education. The conference welcomes applied or 'how to' contributions.

The programme committee expects to make acceptance decisions by mid-late June, and begin formulating the programme structure shortly thereafter.

Final papers should not exceed 5,000 words in length. Multiple copies (25-30) must be distributed at conference sessions. Papers should follow the format and style used in the journal 'Science & Education'. Symposia proposals are welcome. Please provide title, participant names and contact person.

The conference is being held in conjunction with the US History of Science Society's annual conference. Registration for the IHPST conference allows full participation in the HSS conference.

The guest plenary lecturer for the IHPST conference is Professor Gerald Holton of Harvard University, who is well known not only for his distinguished contribution to the history and philosophy of science, but also for his long involvement in education, beginning with directorship of the Harvard Project Physics course in the 1970s. The guest plenary lecturer for the HSS conference is Professor John Hedley Brooke of Oxford University, who is author of numerous studies and books on the history of the interactions between science and religion in the Western tradition.

It is anticipated some of the strands and/or sessions at the IHPST conference will include:

  • EVOLUTION/CREATION CONTROVERSIES IN EDUCATION: Robert Pennock, Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Harvey Siegel, Ron Good
  • CONCEPTUAL CHANGE IN STUDENTS AND IN SCIENCE: Nancy Nersessian, Susan Carey, Marianne Wiser, John Clement
  • PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: Noretta Koertge, Robert Nola, Peter Slezak, Allan Franklin, Alexander Levine, Matti Sintonen
  • PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: Denis Phillips, Jim Garrison, Robert Carson, Andreas Quale, Ian Winchester, Peter Davson-Galle
  • CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN SCIENCE EDUCATION: Richard Duschl, Jonathon Osborne, Norman Lederman, George DeBoer, John Staver.
  • HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY AND PHYSICS TEACHING: Art Stinner, Ibrahim Halloun, Fabio Bevilacqua, Arden Zylbersztaijn, Fanny Seroglou, Antonio Moreno, Anna Maria de Carvalho, Nahum Kipnis, Colin Gauld

Conference registration (USD185) needs to be completed by Monday October 8. Details will shortly be available on the IHPST web site ( or can be obtained by emailing the group secretary, Michael Matthews.


7th UNESCO-ACEID International Conference, Bangkok,11-14 December 2001

Conference information and registration materials are now posted on our Website at

PLEASE NOTE: The Conference dates have changed by one day since the Initial Announcement was sent to you. This change has been made to accommodate the Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand so that he will be able to participate in the Opening Ceremony.

If you have any questions please inquire by sending your message to


Upcoming conferences

June 2001

The International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education (CATE2001) will be held in Banff, Canada, from 27 to 29 June, 2001. For details, please refer to the relevant information of the Conference at

July 2001

50th Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA 50). 8-13 July 2001, Sydney, Australia. (

32nd Annual Conference of the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA). 13-15 July 2001. Sydney, Australia. (

Telling Our Stories: seventh annual meeting of the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, July 18-20, 2001, in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (

November 2001

The 6th International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference will be held in Denver, 7-11 Nov 2001 (

December 2001

Australian Association for Research in Education, 2001 International Education Research Conference, Perth, Western Australia, 2 - 6 December 2001. Crossing Boundaries - New Frontiers for Educational Research (

"Using ICT for Quality Teaching, Learning and Effective Management": 7th Annual UNESCO-ACEID International Conference on Education. 10-13 December 2001, Bangkok, Thailand (

April 2002

American Educational Research Association, 1-5 April 2002, New Orleans, USA (

National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST 2002), 7-10 April 2002, New Orleans, USA (


There have been two Forums on Indigenous Research held in Australia, in 1999 and 2000. The next of these is to be held at the University of Melbourne, organised by Marcia Langdon. I am unsure if the dates for this meeting have not been set yet.


A listing of conferences is also kept by the Indigenous Online Network, at From here you can also access proceedings from the first Forum on Indigenous Research (the Umulliko forum).

Last updated: 1 June 2001

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