Let’s Do it First and Talk About it Later: Rethinking Post-Secondary Science Teaching for Aboriginal Learners

Michelle M. Hogue


As an oral culture, Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning come through practice and practical application first, rather than through theory or text. For Aboriginal students, the Western methodological approach to learning theory first, poses a counterintuitive near insurmountable roadblock, particularly in science. This paper presents the results of two successful pilot course offerings of an introductory chemistry course in a First Nations’ Transition Program; a course that engaged Aboriginal students in a creative, hands-on, practical way. The medicine wheel, in the context of the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), is used as the frame to teach chemistry concepts from an Aboriginal cultural lens and beginning with hands-on methodology to establish context and develop experience before bridging to Western theory.

            Keywords: Aboriginal students; learning theory; curriculum; teaching practices


Aboriginal students; learning theory; curriculum; teaching practices

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