Incorporating Indigenous Students’ Cultural Knowledge More Productively in Mathematics and Science Classrooms: One Focus for Pre-Service Teacher Education Research and Practice
AbstractThere is widespread agreement that Indigenous students’ cultural knowledge is desirably incorporated into curriculum and pedagogical practice. Classroom research shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners can use the cognitive tools of their cultural community to engage with school science. We looked towards our own practice as teacher educators to investigate the question: how can pre-service teachers explore how Indigenous cultural knowledge can be used more productively in mathematics and science classrooms? Teachers across Australia are now regulated by the National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST). Teacher education is now regulated by the National Graduate Teacher Standards (AITSL 2011). Standard 1.4 requires that graduating teachers are able to “demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds”. Standard 2.4 requires that graduating teachers “demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages”. In this paper we present an account of our present understanding of capacity building practises, which are those pedagogies that draw on Indigenous students’ cultural resources: cultural disposition, community knowledge and cultural capital. A key purpose of the presentation is to emphasise the socially negotiated, cultural and embedded nature of meaning-making in science education and how this can be made more apparent given the current focus on implementing the National Professional Standards for Teachers and the new Australian Curriculum.
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