Gathering teachers’ ideas and beliefs about science and creating space for traditional knowledge in the science classroom




Kendy, Patricia Nan

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This study examines science teachers' beliefs and ideas about science prior to and following a one and a half day workshop on Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Witsuwit'en knowledge of science. It is part of a wider study initiated by the Aboriginal Enhancements Branch of the BC Ministry of Education to determine why Aboriginal students are not enrolling in the sciences. A broad range of qualitative methodologies were applied, including pre and post instructional questionnaires, an experiential field trip to traditional Witsuwit'en territories as well as an instructional workshop and a dialogue process. Aspects of Indigenous methodology were included that were central to the lived experience of the Witsuwit'en people whose territories we were on and with whom the research was being conducted. Post-workshop questionnaire responses indicated that teachers' developed a broader understanding of Witsuwit'en Traditional Knowledge systems and a deeper respect for the contributions of the local First Nations to the sciences.



British Columbia, science education, traditional knowledge