New Science of Learning

pp 569-592


Innovations in Culturally Based Science Education Through Partnerships and Community

  • Megan BangAffiliated withTERCAmerican Indian Center of Chicago
  • , Douglas MedinAffiliated withNorthwestern University Email author 
  • , Karen WashinawatokAffiliated withMenominee Language and Culture Commission
  • , Shannon ChapmanAffiliated withMenominee Tribal School

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A growing body of educational research demonstrates the need to address diverse ways of knowing in teaching and learning environments in order to improve school achievement for groups of students who have historically been placed at risk. Central to this growing body of work has been evolving conceptions and methodologies for studying cultural processes in the learning environments in which children live. To test these ideas we have developed a research partnership among the American Indian Center of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. Our chapter will review the methodological and conceptual issues associated with these ideas and the ways in which it specifically plays out when conducting research with Indigenous communities. We will explore the possibilities that new configurations and approaches to research can expand diversity and simultaneously deepen fundamental knowledge. The chapter will explore the collaboration issues we have struggled with in the design of research studies, implementation of studies, and data collection and analysis. We also analyze methodological challenges and advances our collaboration has posed to cognitive science research. Finally, our chapter will explore the benefits to community and university partners that often are unspoken in the research enterprise.