October 2022: Indigenous Ways of Learning

This theme of the month and expert panel webinar will highlight processes involved in Indigenous ways of learning — learning by collaboration, making a difference/giving back, intergenerational connection, responsibility, and respect. Three project teams that study learning and how to foster it in Indigenous communities will discuss what can be learned from Indigenous ways of learning, for Indigenous peoples and the world at large. View Synthesis >>

Theme's playlist

Expert Panel

October Expert Panel: Indigenous Ways of Learning


Recorded: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:00 PM EDT

Description: This month’s expert panel webinar will highlight processes involved in Indigenous ways of learning — learning by collaboration, making a difference/giving back, intergenerational connection, responsibility, and respect.

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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    October 20, 2022 | 01:12 a.m.

    Thank you to all the panelists for the thoughtful and interesting remarks in the panel, and thank you for all who attended, for your participation!

    I would like to ask if there was something that surprised you or was news to you, in today's panel.

    And I would also like to ask if you have a question that we didn't get to in the panel.

  • Icon for: Erica Austin

    Erica Austin

    October 20, 2022 | 12:18 p.m.

    Many thanks to the panelists! I learned so much from the discussion, the blog and references. I am wondering if Dr. Smith has a report or can review the survey statistics she discussed in her remarks, which were so important. I am interested both in the results she found and also in how she phrased the questions, because sometimes the way we ask questions does not resonate well and can be disrespectful. Thank you for any guidance!

  • Icon for: Tiffany Smith

    Tiffany Smith

    October 20, 2022 | 04:34 p.m.

    Hello, Erica, wado for your question. Unfortunately, our report is not published and ready for public consumption just yet. Once it is in the future, we can share findings and our questions.

  • Icon for: Nuria Jaumot-Pascual

    Nuria Jaumot-Pascual

    October 20, 2022 | 06:45 p.m.

    Hi, Erica. As Tiffany said, our reports are not published just yet. However, you can access two short publications that resulted from the pilot project that lead to the Native STEM Portraits study. They are available in the resources tab, with Silva as the first author. 


  • Icon for: Andrew Dayton

    Andrew Dayton

    October 20, 2022 | 11:33 a.m.

    Thanks to the organizers and to all who attended.  I look forward to discussing the important ideas that came up in the panel and breakouts in more depth here.

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Petersen

    Elizabeth Petersen

    October 20, 2022 | 11:47 a.m.

    Thank you for the expert panel. I found everything to be a really great discussion. I could only stay on for 1 hour so I am curious if anyone got to answer my question about when we are teaching about characteristics of living things in a life science class - a rock is considered nonliving scientifically. However one of my students who is Native American said in his culture, all of the Earth is considered living. That has really stayed with me and I wonder how do we support Native Americans and also the science. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this question. 

  • Icon for: Christina Baze

    Christina Baze

    October 20, 2022 | 12:09 p.m.

    We did not, but we should! I know I have experienced Navajo students who needed to be accommodated when I taught an evolution lesson involving examining (plastic) skulls of humans, great apes, and human ancestors. My students told me they were unable to do that lab because examining human remains (even synthetic ones) is reserved for certain cultural roles (i.e., medicine men). It was easy enough to have them complete an alternative lab and replace that activity with a different one for future semesters, which I did, but it raises interesting questions for medical schools, in this case.

    As for questions about the living Earth, I find that opening up these conversations and talking about the philosophy of science and biology in particular. The Gaia Hypothesis is a great discussion starter. I use these conversations to talk about how Western science is but one philosophy of science, and others are also valid and worth considering. Interested to hear from others!

  • Icon for: Andrew Dayton

    Andrew Dayton

    October 20, 2022 | 12:13 p.m.

    'Siyo, Elizabeth,

    This is a fantastic question.  While I would imagine other panelists and attendees can provide more thoughts on this, I would like to point you to this resource:

    Bang, M., & Medin, D. L. (2014). Who's Asking? Native Science, Western Science, and Science Education. MIT Press

    This work directly engages the question you introduce here -- written by imminent researchers in the fields of IKS and cognitive development.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    October 21, 2022 | 07:35 p.m.

    Hi folks, A comment on the conversation about the importance for learning of being able to give back, to contribute--

    My team made a video last year about the motivating role of learning with purpose -- some of you might want to see it, at https://videohall.com/p/1910

    Also, I wonder if other panelists or attendees would like to post references or links to materials on Indigenous ways of learning?  Especially related to the importance of giving back, intergenerational learning, and collaboration.


  • Icon for: Nuria Jaumot-Pascual

    Nuria Jaumot-Pascual

    October 24, 2022 | 12:15 a.m.

     Hi, Barbara. 

    Thank you for posting this video. I had not seen it before and it is really nice to see the parallels of this video with our team's. We come to very similar conclusions: that being helpful to others in their communities supports persistence.

    We have a manuscript that has been accepted for publication on the topic of giving back, but, unfortunately, it's not out yet. 



  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    October 25, 2022 | 06:04 p.m.

    It will be great to see your manuscript when it's published, Nuria!

    In the meantime, some viewers might be interested in our 3-minute research video on children learning by helping out -- closely related to learning by giving back.  It's from the NSF Video Showcase, at https://videohall.com/p/1318


  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    November 13, 2022 | 05:41 p.m.

    Thanks again to the panelists for their insights on Indigenous ways of learning!

    I would also like to express my deep appreciation for the organizers of the NSF Video Showcase and TERC.  The Showcase is such an important contribution to science and to learning!  It has hosted over 1000 videos that have encouraged research teams to explain their work to a broad array of viewers.  These videos have inspired deep discussion at the time of the competition itself and beyond, as each year's videos remain available for viewing by researchers, educators, policy makers, and students in classes where they are used to bring important ideas to light.   Thank you, thank you for this contribution to advancing understanding.

Related Resources

Author(s): Rogoff UCSC Research Team
Publication: learningbyobservingandpitchingin.sites.ucsc.edu

In some communities where children are included in a wide range of activities, children pay close attention and learn through contributing to the ongoing activities of their community. This way of learning appears to be especially common in many Indigenous communities of the Americas. This website presents theory and research on "Learning by Observing and Pitching In" to family and community endeavors (LOPI, previously called Intent Community Participation).

Author(s): Rogoff, B., & Mejía-Arauz, R.
Publication: Journal for the Study of Education and Development, 45(3) (Aug 2022)

This article focuses on communities’ contributions to a way of learning that seems to be common in many Indigenous communities of the Americas and among people with heritage in such communities: Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavours (LOPI). We briefly contrast this with community contributions in Assembly-Line Instruction, a way of learning that is common in Western schooling, to highlight the distinct contributions of community in these two ways of learning.

Author(s): Dayton, A., Aceves-Azuara, I., & Rogoff, B.
Publication: British Journal of Developmental Psychology (Feb 2022)

Using a holistic, process approach, this article brings attention to cultural differences in the prevalence of fluid synchrony in collaboration, at a microanalytic scale of analysis that is embodied in the processes of everyday life. We build on findings that in a number of Indigenous American communities, fluid and harmonious collaboration is prioritized both in community organization at a scale of years and centuries, and in everyday family interactions and researcher-organized tasks at a scale of days, hours, or minutes.

Author(s): Silva, C. B., Jaumot-Pascual, N., Ong, M., & DeerInWater, K.
Publication: Winds of Change, AISES

According to the NSF, Indigenous people, especially those who identify as Native women and two-spirit individuals, are currently underrepresented in the field.To understand what promotes — and what hinders —persistence in undergraduate CS programs, a team from AISES and TERC, a nonprofit focused on promoting equal access to STEM learning opportunities, conducted research.

Author(s): Silva, C. B., Jaumot-Pascual, N., Ong, M., & DeerInWater, K.
Publication: Hands On! TERC

With such a scarcity of research on two-spirit individuals in STEM, in this article we bring forward findings from NAWC2 about a participant who called himself Tokala and identified as two-spirit, and shared how his identity as a two-spirit Native man influenced his journey as an undergraduate in CS.

Author(s): D’Souza, A.
Publication: TERC Blog

How do STEM departments and institutions recruit and sustain Native individuals’ participation in a given discipline, in ways that value their uniquely Indigenous ways of knowing and being? If Native science is not included in classroom instruction, can we expect to increase representation and perseverance of Native people in cell and molecular biology, geosciences, engineering?

Author(s): Verna J. Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt
Publication: Journal of American Indian Education (May 1991)

American Indian/First Nations/Native people have been historically under-represented in the ranks of college and university graduates in Canada and the United State ...This paper examines the implications of these differences in perspective [institutional and student] and identifies ways in which initiatives within and outside of existing institutions are transforming the landscape of higher education for First Nations/American Indian people in both Canada and the United States.

Author(s): Shawn Wilson
Publication: Fernwood Publishing (book) (May 2020)

Indigenous researchers are knowledge seekers who work to progress Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing in a modern and constantly evolving context. This book describes a research paradigm shared by Indigenous scholars in Canada and Australia, and demonstrates how this paradigm can be put into practice. Relationships don’t just shape Indigenous reality, they are our reality... For researchers to be accountable to all our relations, we must make careful choices in our selection of topics, methods of data collection, forms of analysis and finally in the way we present information.

Author(s): Carroll, S.R., Garba, I., Figueroa-Rodríguez, O.L., Holbrook, J., Lovett, R., Materechera, S., Parsons, M., Raseroka, K., Rodriguez-Lonebear, D., Rowe, R., Sara, R., Walker, J.D., Anderson, J., Hudson, M.
Publication: Data Science Journal (Oct 2020)

Concerns about secondary use of data and limited opportunities for benefit-sharing have focused attention on the tension that Indigenous communities feel between (1) protecting Indigenous rights and interests in Indigenous data (including traditional knowledges) and (2) supporting open data, machine learning, broad data sharing, and big data initiatives. The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group (within the Research Data Alliance) is a network of nation-state based Indigenous data sovereignty networks and individuals that developed the ‘CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance’ (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics) in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, scholars, non-profit organizations, and governments.