Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 759–776 | Cite as

“Yo soy indígena”: identifying and using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to make the teaching of science culturally responsive for Maya girls

  • Maria L. HamlinEmail author


This study examines how traditional ecological knowledge—TEK—can be identified and utilized to create culturally responsive science learning opportunities for Maya girls from a community in the Guatemalan highlands. Maya girls are situated in a complex socio-historical and political context rooted in racism and sexism. This study contextualizes the current situation of Maya women and girls in Guatemala and emphasizes the important need for educators to create science-learning opportunities that are culturally congruent. The author posits that when considering how to make the teaching and learning of science culturally responsive for Maya girls, educators must begin with the scientific knowledge inherent within Maya communities. Indigenous communities have a wealth of TEK that can be used to contextualize science curricula that can be purposely designed to meet the nuanced cultural needs of traditional Maya girls within and outside Guatemala.


Gender Traditional ecological knowledge Science education Guatemala 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum and Instruction, School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin–MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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