Decolonizing Methodologies and Indigenous Knowledge: The Role of Culture, Place and Personal Experience in Professional Development

Chinn, Pauline WU. “Decolonizing Methodologies and Indigenous Knowledge: The Role of Culture, Place and Personal Experience in Professional Development.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 44, no. 9 (2007): 1247–68.

This article analyzes the findings of a professional development program attended by educators from different countries in relation to use of local knowledge and practices. The nineteen participants, international science and mathematics educators, explored the roles of culture, place, and personal experience in science education through writings and group discussions. They also viewed a presentation on Indigenous Hawaiian practices related to place and sustainability then engaged in collaborative action research leading to recognition of the sociocultural and ethical contexts of education. It also involved videotaping the teachers as they instructed to see how well they included local knowledge in their teaching. The coordinator of the program was also interviewed to get an idea of what was not captured on tape. The research aimed at identifying ways through which teaching and learning of science could be reconsidered in view of cultural practices and prior knowledge of the community in context. The article further focuses on the existing practices in science instruction and then drawing from the research in the professional development program gives recommendations on how to include indigenous knowledge, learner’s experiences and traditional knowledge in the instruction of science.

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