Reflective (Lessons Learned)

In Integrative Science, we recognize that our journey must be reflective, i.e. there must be times at which we pause to look back upon our experiences and research activities to ask ourselves "what lessons have we learned in doing this?" and "how might we do this better?"

This approach enables us to go forward together with common, richer understandings and abilities.  In this way our Integrative Science journey can be understood as consisting of iterative and expanding cycles of inquiry, relevant associated action, and reflection upon outcomes and new knowledge. 

We also recognize that each one of us needs to have reflexive positioning capability, i.e. an ability to locate ourself in the bigger picture (more than one person), reflective process. 

We list below some lessons that we have learned in our Integrative Science journey through the years. We have explicitly shared these "Lessons Learned" in many of our presentations and some of our articles. We also try, more subtly, to incorporate information about lessons learned in all our oral presentations.

After listing "Lessons Learned", we provide some information about understandings we have developed in reflecting upon our efforts in the post-secondary science teaching environment (for the period 1999-2004). Links are provided to additional information.

Seven Major Lessons Learned
Seven major lessons learned in the overall Integrative Science journey that we repeatedly emphasize, regardless of the nature of the audience are found below.

  1. Acknowledge we need each other in a co-learning journey.
  2. Use the guiding principle of Two-Eyed Seeing.
  3. View science in a culturally inclusive way.
  4. Do! And do so in a creative, grow forward way.
  5. Put our values and actions and knowledges in front of us like an object, to enable acknowledging the philosophies inherent in our knowledges, in our stories.
  6. Use visuals.
  7. Weave back and forth between our worldviews.

The above list of seven lessons learned has been featured in many of our presentations at workshops and conferences, including those indicated below.

Longer, Fuller List of Lessons Learned
On occasion, we have put forward these same lessons learned in a somewhat longer and fuller list, as indicated below.

  • Acknowledge we need each other.
  • Acknowledge we are on a learning journey and more: a co-learning journey.
  • Learn to co-learn: employ a simple integrative framework.
  • Help Elders to bring traditional understandings into institutions of higher learning to help community make traditional Aboriginal knowledge real in the minds of youth. By real, Elders mean "legitimate, valid, and/or authentic" and they tell us that universities convey an intellectual authority with which they, the Elders and other Traditional Knowledge Holders, may not be able to compete, given today's complex, multi-media world. Note: We in Integrative Science are not saying "legitimize traditional knowledge"; instead, what we are saying is "help Elders to help others see it as legitimate".
  • Work with agendas that can respond to the group's emergent relational consciousness, expanding understandings, and ever changing circumstances. We often refer to these as "living agendas".
  • Use organic language wherever possible, while also acknowledging the pervasiveness of mechanistic and/or architectural language. For example, we talk of community capacity growing rather than community capacity building.
  • Do! And do so in a creative, grow forward way.
  • Think "knowledge gardening" more than knowledge translation or transfer.
  • Navigate the co-learning journey by weaving back and forth between our knowledges or world views.
  • Navigate our weaving via awareness of "big patterns" (knowledge orientations or maps) while recognizing that there is much more beyond the poignancy of their simplicity.
  • Make visual our knowledges, our understandings, our stories, our guiding principles: use metaphors and pictures.

The above list of eleven lessons learned has been published in the articles indicated below.

1) Bartlett, C.M. 2011. Integrative Science/Toqwa'tu'kl Kjijitaqnn: The story of our journey in bringing together Indigenous and Western scientific knowledges. Chapter 16 in: Proceedings of Workshop for the Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Project, Debert, NS, 19-21 October 2005 (in press).

2) Bartlett, C.M. 2005. Knowledge inclusivity: "Two-Eyed Seeing" for science for the 21st Century. Workshop on Learning Communities as a Tool for Resource Management (Proceedings pp. 70-76), Halifax, NS, 4-5 November 2005.  View presentation.

Challenges Faced in Post-Secondary Science Teaching Environment
In reflecting upon the challenges we have faced in creating and teaching Integrative Science in the post-secondary environment (for the period 1999-2004), we are able to identify four key areas:

  1. Indigenous science has spirituality at its core or heart, whereas spirituality is commonly believed to be absent in Western science.
  2. Indigenous science is a living knowledge, whereas Western science education is heavily book-based.
  3. Indigenous science emphasizes understandings about change, wholeness, and balance, whereas Western science emphasizes practitioner specialization and a focus on parts.
  4. Today's students are very familiar with computer-mediated entertainment and communication but they tend to have impoverished personal understandings of nature, i.e. the subject of scientific knowledges.

Approach to Meeting Challenges Faced in Post-Secondary Science Teaching Environment
Our efforts to meet and overcome the above identified challenges in the post-secondary environment (for the period 1999-2004) can be summarized as below.

  • Create numerous and diverse out-of-doors learning experiences.
  • Involve community Elders, resource people, organizations, and workshops or other events, as appropriate, and as much as possible.
  • Employ project-based learning using issues of interest to students either personally or to their communities.
  • Use the ever-growing literature on traditional ecological knowledge and other published information on the Indigenous sciences;
  • Use Aboriginal learning concepts and pedagogy, as appropriate (e.g. Circle Learning).
  • Teach in an integrated manner the major disciplines of Western natural science, namely cosmology, physics, chemistry, geology, and biology plus, as possible and appropriate, understandings from neuroscience and consciousness studies.
  • Employ an overall "integrative framework".
  • Be prepared to co-learn with students and community.
  • Employ "Two-Eyed Seeing" as a guiding principle.
  • Acknowledge and employ a "pattern recognition, transformation, and expression" conceptual framework for coming to see how different cultures may shape and share their science stories in different ways.

More information can be found in the article below.

Hatcher, AM., Bartlett, C.M., Marshall, A., and Marshall, M. 2009. Two-Eyed Seeing in the classroom environment: concepts, approach and challenges. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 9(3): 141-153.