Collaborative Research: Intergenerational Learning, Deliberation, and Decision Making for Changing Lands and Waters
Creating science education that can contribute to cultivating just, culturally thriving, and sustainable worlds is an important issue of our time. Indigenous peoples have persistently been under-represented in science reproducing inequalities in a myriad of ways from educational attainment, participation in and contributing to innovations in foundational knowledge, to effective policy making that upholds and respects Indigenous sovereignty. The development of models of science education that attend to intersections of knowledge and development, socio-scientific decision-making and civic leadership, and the complexities and contradictions of these realities, is imperative. This five-year Innovations in Development project broadens participation and strengthens infrastructure and capacity for Indigenous learners to meet, adapt to, and lead change in relation to the socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century. The project engages multi-sited community-based design studies to develop and research the impacts of Indigenous informal field-based science education with three Indigenous leadership communities from the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes. This project will have broader impacts through model development, building infrastructure to transform the capacity of informal field-based science education, and will produce cutting edge foundational knowledge about pressing 21st century issues with a particular focus on Indigenous communities. The project increases Indigenous participation in research through 1) engagement of Indigenous community members as research assistants, 2) training of Indigenous graduate fellows, and post-doctoral fellows, and 3) supporting the careers of more junior Indigenous scholars.
This research seeks to identify key design features of an Indigenous field (land/water) based model of science education and to understand how learners’ and educators’ reasoning, deliberation, decision-making, and leadership about complex socio-ecological systems and community change evolve in such learning environments. The project also examines key aspects of co-design and partnership with Tribal communities and how these methods of co-production of new science enable new capacities for systems transformation. This multi-layered project is organized through 3 panels of studies including: Panel 1) community-based design experiments to develop and refine a model of Indigenous informal science education; Panel 2) co-design and implementation of professional learning programs for Indigenous informal science education; and Panel 3) foundational studies in cognition and learning with respect to socio-ecological systems thinking and the impact on learning and instructional practices. Of particular importance in this research is the rigorous development and articulation of effective pedagogical practices and orientations. More broadly, findings will have clear implications for theories of cognitive development, deliberation and environmental decision making and especially those pertaining to how knowledge is shaped by culture and experience.
This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program.
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