Improving Science Education for Native Students: Teaching Place Through Community

May 1st, 2009 | RESEARCH

The "places" of learners and practitioners of science from communities of color are increasingly a focus in analyses of science learning and education in the U.S. Typically, these places are defined through the discourse of equity that focuses on representation and the goal of creating learning environments that will allow students of color to perform as well as their white peers. More recently, this focus has shifted from performance to actual knowledge of and the ability to think critically about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content. Although critical thinking and diverse representation within STEM remain necessary lenses for understanding the challenges facing science and science education, by themselves they are incomplete because they tend to focus on the goal and not the nature of learning itself. At worst, they lend themselves to deficit orientations and prescriptions in the form of thinly disguised or overt efforts to get children and parents of color to adopt white, middle-class practices and orientations. At the core of this issue is the persistent perception that science and science teaching is acultural.


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Team Members

Megan Bang, Author, TERC
Douglas Medin, Author, Northwestern University
Gregory Cajete, Author, University of New Mexico


Publication: Science Education
Volume: 12
Number: 1
Page(s): 8

Related URLs

Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Public Programs