This article was written by informalscience.org, an online platform seeking to support the informal STEM community with project, research and evaluation resources. The article describes the relevance of ‘culturally relevant experiences’ to STEM learning.
The article suggests that if learning is a cultural process, then the design of learning spaces must take culture into account so that learning spaces can be inclusive. It is important to remember that when a person moves from one place to another, they take their ways of ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ with them, and this may influence how they learn.
Informal learning institutions, such as museums and zoos, can play a key role in engaging culturally and linguistically diverse students, as they allow access to real world science. However, the article suggests barriers such as financial factors (e.g. admission fees), psychological factors (e.g. not feeling welcome) and phenomena such as the ‘novelty effect’ can prevent students from engaging.
The article also places an importance on maintaining cultural integrity, so that students can guide their own learning in an encouraging and supportive environment.
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