Cultural Ways of Knowing as Intellectual Strengths in Robust Science Learning

Megan Bang, University of Washington
This session introduces participants to ways of conceptualizing culture and ways of knowing non-dominant students as intellectual resources and opportunities for expansive and robust science learning rather than as problematic deficit orientations. We will consider how students are usefully aligned with professional expert science. Participants explore the differences in these orientations and their implications for practice through data analysis and a microteaching activity in the context of environmental/biological science.

About the Presenter:
Megan Bang, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Megan Bang has been appointed assistant professor in the area of educational psychology. A Spencer Graduate Fellow at Northwestern, Bang specialized in cognitive science, a discipline within the learning sciences. She did her Post-Doc work at TERC, Inc., working with the ChecheKonnen Center. Previously, Bang has served as a co-principal investigator on several National Science Foundation grants. Bang worked to design and implement culturally- and community-based science instruction in afterschool settings at the American Indian Center in Chicago and the tribal school on the Menominee reservation for the Cultural Context of Learning in Native American Science Education project. Bang also worked on an NSF-funded project about cross-cultural understandings of the biological world. This project used cognitive research to explore cross-cultural differences in children’s understanding of the biological world. In addition to these recent research projects, Bang serves on the editorial board of the Journal of American Indian Education and as an inquiry group member for the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education. She serves on several boards of projects in Indigenous communities throughout North America. Bang received her PhD in 2008 from the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy.