The term 'worldview' refers to the lens or framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets and interacts with the world. Students’ worldviews are diverse and reflect their cultural backgrounds and experiences.

While the Australian Curriculum provides the expectations for what all Australian students are taught, it is the responsibility of schools and teachers to plan for learning experiences that meet the needs of their students and cater to their interests.

Each individual student’s culture, family background, life and school experiences contribute to their ability to make meaning and sense of the world they live in. This is sometimes referred to as their ‘common-sense culture’ (1) in science education research, and may influence their pre-existing ideas about science concepts. Students may experience discomfort, even anxiety, if their ‘common-sense culture’ is at odds with the ideas presented in the contemporary ‘world of school science' (2).

Teachers’ development of inclusive curricula and pedagogical practice will support students’ ability to cope with disparate worldviews by scaffolding ‘border crossings from their life-world culture to the culture of science' (3). Teachers of science as ‘culture brokers' (4) are crucial in guiding students back and forth across these borders in the classroom.

Resources to support students' developing ideas

  • Science elaborations from ACARA address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.
  • The ideas of classification used in western science are not always shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. An article on this topic is available here.
  • Links to national, state and territory departmental guidelines for teachers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are provided in the Curriculum tab in the Primary Connections Indigenous Perspectives framework.
  • CSIRO What works in Indigenous STEM Education


  1. Ogawa, M. (1995) Science education in a multi-science perspectives. Science Education, 79:583-93.

  2. Aikenhead G. (2000). Renegotiating the culture of school science. In R. Millar, J.Leach & J.Osborne (Eds), Improving science education: The contribution of research. Open University Press, UK.

  3. Aikenhead G. (2001). Students’ ease in crossing cultural borders into school science. Science Education 85.

  4. Jegede O.J. and Aikenhead G.S. (1999). Transcending cultural borders: implications for science teaching. Research in Science and Technology Education 17.