Towards an understanding of Indigenous perspectives through the eyes of pre-service science education students

LCJ 24 cover

Gregory Smith & Michael Michie

LCJ: Number 24, October 2019, pp. 22-39
https://doi.org/10.18793/lcj2019.24.03

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Citation
Smith, G., & Michie, M. (2019). Towards an understanding of Indigenous perspectives through the eyes of pre-service science education students. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 24, 22-39. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18793/lcj2019.24.03

 

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of ‘Indigenous perspectives’ as presented by 150 pre-service teachers of science education. They were presented with an open ended task that required them to choose a concept or topic in school science, and then incorporate their understanding of an Indigenous perspective relative to their chosen science concept. The demonstration of their science concept Indigenous perspective used network visualisation: concept maps or mind maps. Here the connections between Western science knowledge, Indigenous knowledge and knowledge application elements of the visualisations represented student constructed understandings or perceptions.

The concept maps and mind maps were analysed in a staged process. Firstly, grouping of visualisations based on concept representations  to uncover themes, and then using Network Theory, each theme was statistically analysed, concluding in an ‘all’ concept meta-analysis. This analysis was undertaken to mathematically developed models of concepts links. The analysis demonstrated six overlapping and interrelated areas of Western school science themes: seasons and weather, astronomy, plants, animals, use of natural resources, and ecology. The network analysis presented a complex web of interrelated knowledge constructs. This complex web of interrelated knowledge was within and across the six themes. Such findings indicate an Indigenous perspective is a relational construct inclusive of Western science knowledge, Indigenous knowledge and knowledge application. It also reflected the place-based nature of Indigenous knowledge.

This study presents an Indigenous perspective as a complex web of interrelated Western school science and Indigenous knowledges. Such complex representations provide the possibility for a reconceptualisation of Australian science curriculum where science education is an interrelated human endeavour interacting with the natural world and where two worldviews coexist with one informing the other.

 

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