Collaborative Research: Intergenerational Learning, Deliberation, and Decision Making For Changing Lands and Waters

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview. This five year Innovations in Development project aims to broaden participation and strengthen infrastructure and capacity for Indigenous learners to meet, adapt to, and lead change in relation to the socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century (NRC, 2012) by engaging in a multi-sited community-based design experiment to develop and research the impacts of models of Indigenous informal field based science education with 3 leadership communities from the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes. Importantly, the proposed project will then pilot a broader professional learning program for additional communities. This project is a multi-sited partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, the Tulalip Tribes, the Chicago American Indian community, and the Seattle American Indian community and three universities including: Northwestern University, Western Washington University, and the University of Washington- Seattle. The need for creating science education that can contribute to cultivating just, culturally thriving and sustainable worlds is perhaps the most important issue of our times. While this not new and various scholars and fields have been working to address these issues, we suggest our collective capacity (e.g. Whyte, 2012) and interest to engage and rapidly address these issues has shifted making the current moment potentially pivotal. Indigenous peoples have persistently been under-represented in science (e.g. NSF, 2018) reproducing inequalities in a myriad of ways from educational attainment, participation and contributing to innovations in foundational knowledge, to effective policy making that upholds and respects Indigenous sovereignty, to name just a few. Simultaneously, Indigenous communities are also places of deep leadership, expertise, and possibility for all life (Deloria & Wildcat, 2001; Whyte, 2013; 2014). Indigenous territories reflect 80% of world’s biodiversity is found in Indigenous territories (e.g. Kaptoyo, 2019; Schuster et al., 2019). In short, Indigenous peoples and communities have deep expertise already, thus approaches to broadening participation must reach beyond simplistic and implicit deficit models that assume lack of knowledge. The development of models of science education that attend to intersections of knowledge and development, socio-scientific decision-making and civic leadership, and the complexities and contradictions of these realities, is imperative. We organize this multi-layered project through 3 panels of studies including: Panel 1) community-based design experiments to develop and refine a model of Indigenous informal science education; Panel 2) co-design and implement professional learning programs for Indigenous informal science education; and Panel 3) foundational research on science teaching and learning across panel 1 and 2. Intellectual Merit. Based on results from these panels, our project will produce four main deliverables: 1) a model of Indigenous informal science education that can travel across communities, 2) a model of and infrastructure to support professional learning, 3) foundational knowledge about human reasoning and decision complex socio-ecological systems, and 4) new insights into collaborative work focused on co-production of knowledge. Of particular importance in this project is the rigorous development and articulation of effective pedagogical practices and orientations/ More broadly findings from this project will have clear implications for theories of cognitive development, deliberation and environmental decision making and es
Effective start/end date9/1/218/31/26


  • National Science Foundation (DRL-2115963-001)


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