The apparent Western predisposition of modern science is well established in the literature. Scholars, over half a century, have argued that North Atlantic White male Caucasian values and beliefs have governed scientific thought and the processes of scientific inquiry. An extensive number of studies document the challenges that young learners from non-Western backgrounds encounter when they become students of (Western) science. There is, however, a prevailing assumption that these challenges cease to exist as those learners grow older. In fact, few studies, if any, mention such challenges encountered by science teachers from non-Western backgrounds. This paper describes some of the unique challenges experienced by science teachers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia when they constructed scientific knowledge in the context of in-service professional development. The findings revealed that science teachers from non-Western backgrounds did experience difficulties when they crossed cultural-frontiers. For instance, the teachers preferred practices that were endemic to the traditional teaching of Western science, and they resisted attempts to alter their perceived ideas of Western scientific knowledge. It is possible to conclude, therefore, that science teachers from non-Western backgrounds continue to be challenged by Western science, although the challenges they encounter are different to those of non-Western students.
|Keywords:||Western Science, Non-western Learners, Professional Development, Cultural-frontiers, Compartmentalization, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science|
Researcher, Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia