IMPACTFUL LESSONS THROUGH EMBEDDING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS INTO SCIENCE CURRICULA

Matthew Pye, Katherine Brittain, Panagiotis Couros, Francesca van den Berg, Jaime Gongora

Abstract


The University of Sydney has identified the embedding of cultural competence into academic programs as one of its core Graduate Qualities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). This knowledge, surrounding animals, plants and the environment, is embedded in stories and paintings used to pass on knowledge and cultural practices. Despite the challenges posed in embedding IKS into science curricula due to the perceived conflict of different of ways of doing and knowing things in relation to Western science, this has been achieved in several units of study across the Faculty of Science. Here we present presential and online approaches in which science students, from 1st to 3rd year, engaged with aspects of ecological and biocultural Indigenous knowledge, embedded in the stories of life and paintings by the Ngaanyatjarra People through the Warburton Arts and Knowledge Portal (https://indigenous-knowledges.sydney.edu.au/). Students were asked to reflect on: ways that western science and IKS package information; diverse views about classification of plants/animals; consideration of culture and spirituality in IKS; the relevance of IKS for mainstream societies when solving modern day problems related to conservation of biodiversity; and how the activity helps to improve students’ cultural competence.

Keywords


Indigenous Knowledge Systems, science curricula, cultural competence

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