Culture Clash Hurting Natives’ Science Education

Friday, February 02, 2007 at 13:44



A recent study indicates that cultural differences could be keeping Aboriginal people from taking university courses in science.


The research was conducted by the Canadian Council of Learning in Vancouver and focused on why such low numbers of Aboriginal youth are studying math, computers, engineering and applied sciences.


Traci Lavin is a research analyst who worked on the project.


She says the study determined that many Aboriginal students believe a culture of assimilation permeates university classes on science.


For instance, she says many students say the classes promoted a sense of competition, rather than cooperation.


She also says Aboriginal students tend to think of time in a cyclical manner, rather than the linear thinking of the university.


The study recommends that western science classes open themselves up to the notion of holistic learning often found in Aboriginal communities.