Evaluation of Cross-Cultural (Indigenous and Western) Learning Opportunities in a Science Course for Pre-Service Teachers

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Eileen Van der Flier-Keller, Earth Sciences

Project team: Diana Bedoya, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Michelle Ciolfitto, Earth Sciences, and research assistant, TBD

Timeframe: July 2019 to July 2020

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: SCI 192 – 'The Science Around Us' Interdisciplinary Science for Pre-service Teachers

Description: One of the major elements of the new K-12 science curriculum is a focus on Indigenous knowledge alongside western science. Based on an awareness building process (introduction by Dorothy Christian, and paper reading) followed if possible by an example module where we introduce Western and Indigenous knowledge alongside each other, we would like to evaluate a) what students understand about Indigenous ways of knowing and how it compares with Western science, b) how students perspectives on this evolve and c) whether they feel confident to introduce Indigenous ways of knowing and cross-cultural discussions in future classrooms.

We would like students to have a better understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing and doing and how they compare with the Western science they experience in most of the class. We also hope that students will feel more comfortable and confident with initiating discussions about, and integrating cross-cultural learning in the future.

Questions addressed:

  • What do students understand of Indigenous ways of knowing, and how it compares with Western science?
  • Have students’ perspectives on the relationships between western science and Indigenous ways of knowing changed?
  • Do students feel confident and comfortable with introducing Indigenous ways of knowing and cross-cultural discussions into their future classroom?
  • What are students’ opinions and suggestions regarding the readings/discussion and the module (if it is run)?

Knowledge sharing:

We will be sharing the project’s findings:

  • within our 12-person team
  • with the Faculty of Science Working Group on Indigenous Initiatives
  • possibly at a Teaching Matters Seminar
  • possibly at a pedagogy conference TBD