Cultural processes in science education: Supporting the navigation of multiple epistemologies

Authors

  • Megan Bang,

    Corresponding author
    1. TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA, and American Indian Center of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60640-5418, USA
    • TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA, and American Indian Center of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60640-5418, USA
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  • Douglas Medin

    1. Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-2710, USA
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Abstract

Although there has been considerable focus on the underrepresentation of minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and the need for science instruction that fosters diversity, much of the associated effort has focused on the goal of diversity and tended to assume that science and science learning are acultural. We describe a conceptual framework employed in our work with both urban and rural Native American communities that focuses on culturally based epistemological orientations and their relation to the cultural practices associated with science instruction. We summarize evidence on the efficacy of community-based science education to support the proposition for a shift in orientation toward science education from aiming to have students adopt specific epistemologies to supporting students' navigation of multiple epistemologies. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed94:1008–1026, 2010

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