Science, Culture and Citizenship: Cross-Cultural Science Education


  • Glen S. Aikenhead Aboriginal Education Research Centre University of Saskatchewan
  • Kenio E. C. Lima Aboriginal Education Research Centre University of Saskatchewan


My paper has three purposes: (1) to explore an alternative to the conventional mono-cultural science curriculum in schools narrowly defined by Eurocentric science; (2) to consider the benefits that accrue from a school science curriculum that recognizes the knowledge of nature held by an Indigenous culture as being foundational to understanding the physical world; and (3) to illustrate this cross-cultural school science by what we are accomplishing in Saskatchewan, Canada. From an anthropological perspective, science can be seen as anchored in Euro-American cultures (i.e., Eurocentric science), regardless of the cultural identities of non-Euro-American professional scientists. The vast majority of students experience school science as a foreign culture, but their teachers do not treat it that way. Culture clashes for socially marginalized students in society (e.g., Indigenous students) are particularly pronounced. Conventional school science discriminates against their culture’s way of knowing nature and alienates many of them in science classrooms. A cross-cultural school science, on the other hand, does not accept the hegemony of Eurocentrism, but instead seeks ethical, social, ecological, and economic rewards for all students and citizens as a consequence to implementing a cross-cultural curriculum that recognizes Indigenous knowledge as being foundational to understanding nature.In the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, we are implementing a science curriculum that introduces some Indigenous knowledge of nature into conventional school science. The provincial school science curriculum is now a pluralistic curriculum that stipulates content to be studied from two knowledge systems (Eurocentric and Indigenous). Eurocentric-Indigenous, cross-cultural, science curricula need to be developed in countries with a history of colonization. Implementation involves science teachers who build cultural bridges between their Eurocentric science culture and a local Indigenous culture.


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Aikenhead, G. S., & Lima, K. E. C. (2011). Science, Culture and Citizenship: Cross-Cultural Science Education. Revista Brasileira De Pesquisa Em Educação Em Ciências, 9(3). Recuperado de