Culturally Responsive Science Education for Indigenous and Ethnic Minority Students

Authored by: Elizabeth McKinley , Mark J. S. Gan

Handbook of Research on Science Education

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  July  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415629379
eBook ISBN: 9780203097267
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221972


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Since the writing of the last chapter in the previous handbook (McKinley, 2007), educational research continues to be concerned with indigenous and minority students’ access, participation, and achievement in science education. The underrepresentation of indigenous and some ethnic minority students in secondary science education is a major social and economic disadvantage for these communities and a major challenge for science educators in industrial countries. The reason for this is that the lack of participation and achievement by these communities is perceived as being particularly urgent as they strive for a highly skilled workforce specifically in science-based subjects to build their knowledge-based economies. Identified as a “barrier” to this goal is that the number of students being educated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects has fallen (Ezeife, 2003). There are two forces at work here: The numbers of students in science courses from groups who have historically participated has diminished, and the demographics of First World nations’ move toward greater proportions of indigenous and ethnic minority students. In essence, science education research is faced with questions regarding how it can increase the uptake of science-based subjects by students who have previously been excluded from participating in them and, to a large extent, participating in many of their benefits.

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