Sustaining Indigenous Student Participation in School Science

By Hiria McRae.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In many Western countries the participation of indigenous students in school science begins to drop away by their early high school years. In New Zealand schools this pattern is also evident for indigenous Māori students despite initiatives including science curricula and resources written in the Māori language, science scholarships, and mentoring programs. International studies describe the importance of curriculum content and pedagogy, making connections with the learner’s culture as a means to engage indigenous students with school science, especially how schools acknowledge Western science and indigenous knowledge in their programs. In this paper I will explore the concept of ‘place’ specifically in relation to the Māori culture, the environment and identity, and how these ideas can be used to mobilize indigenous student engagement with school science. To support my argument I will draw on my recent study conducted with Māori students, exploring their views about school science.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge, Science Education, Student Engagement, Place and Identity, Culture

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 810.938KB).

Hiria McRae

Lecturer, Te Kura Māori, Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I specialise in Māori education at Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Education. I work with pre-service and in-service teachers in the early childhood, primary and secondary sectors. Currently my main role is as a Project Coordinator for a Ministry of Education contract delivering teacher professional development. The model used in this professional development is in-school facilitation, using multimedia to increase teachers' proficiency of the Māori language and language acquisition. I’m a primary trained teacher who has taught in schools delivering through the medium of the Māori language. I am interested in improving education for the Māori and contributing to the field of indigenous knowledge and education, specifically science, technology and education for sustainability.