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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Culture camp: Examining teaching and learning at the convergence of Traditional Knowledge and Western Science
by Murphy, Bree Camus, M.A., University of California, Davis, 2010, 113; 1481112
Abstract (Summary)

With mounting environmental problems facing our society, there is an increasing need for an environmentally and scientifically literate citizenry with knowledge, skills, values and confidence to make informed environmental decisions. Currently, many education programs fail to build an understanding of the interconnected nature of culture, science and the environment. One approach to address the educational needs of our multicultural society, and better link culture and the environment, is the weaving of Indigenous Knowledge, also known as Traditional Knowledge, into environmental and science curriculum. This thesis explores the learning and teaching that occur during the convergence of Traditional Knowledge and Western Science during two summer camps in Seldovia, Alaska. This descriptive study is informed by the field of multicultural science education and, in particular, the dialogue around the role of Traditional Knowledge in science and environmental education. A participatory action research approach was used to conduct semi-structured interviews, focus groups, document review and participant observations. The findings revealed various teaching methods that instructors used in this learning environment. The evidence from this study points to participants learning largely about values, plants, animal behavior, habitats, and subsistence practices. The findings also present a dynamic array of social, cultural, and historical factors shaping the learning environment and are related to the way participants are navigating the integration, overlap, and convergence of Western Science and Traditional Knowledge.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ballard, Heidi
Commitee: Carter Ching, Cynthia, Passmore, Cynthia
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Science education, Curriculum development, Native American studies
Keywords: Alaska, Cross-cultural education, Environmental education, Informal education, Science education, Traditional ecological knowledge
Publication Number: 1481112
ISBN: 978-1-124-21995-0
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