Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Learning, 21st Century Learners, and STEM Success
Aboriginal people are alarmingly under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related careers. This under-representation is a direct result of the lack of academic success in science and mathematics, an issue that begins early in elementary and middle school and often escalates in secondary school with the majority consequently doing poorly, not completing these courses and often dropping out. This makes them ineligible to pursue STEM-related paths at the post-secondary level. The greatest challenges to success in these courses are the lack of relevancy for Aboriginal learners and, as importantly, how they are taught; impediments that are also paramount to the increasing lack of success for many non-Aboriginal students in STEM-related courses. This paper explores how Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning and those of the 21st century learners of today very closely parallel each other and illustrates how the creative multidisciplinary approach of a liberal education might be the way to enable early academic engagement, success and retention of Aboriginal learners in the sciences and mathematics.
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