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Edited by Lynn A. Bryan and Kenneth Tobin

Critical Issues and Bold Visions for Science Education contains 16 chapters written by 32 authors from 11 countries. The book is intended for a broad audience of teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and policymakers. Interesting perspectives, challenging problems, and fresh solutions grounded in cutting edge theory and research are presented, interrogated, elaborated and, while retaining complexity, offer transformative visions within a context of political tensions, historical legacies, and grand challenges associated with Anthropocene (e.g., sustainability, climate change, mass extinctions).

Within overarching sociocultural frameworks, authors address diverse critical issues using rich theoretical frameworks and methodologies suited to research today and a necessity to make a difference while ensuring that all participants benefit from research and high standards of ethical conduct. The focus of education is broad, encompassing teaching, learning and curriculum in pre-k-12 schools, museums and other informal institutions, community gardens, and cheeseworld. Teaching and learning are considered for a wide range of ages, languages, and nationalities. An important stance that permeates the book is that research is an activity from which all participants learn, benefit, and transform personal and community practices. Transformation is an integral part of research in science education.

Contributors are: Jennifer Adams, Arnau Amat, Lucy Avraamidou, Marcília Elis Barcellos, Alberto Bellocchi, Mitch Bleier, Lynn A. Bryan, Helen Douglass, Colin Hennessy Elliott, Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez, Elisabeth Gonçalves de Souza, Da Yeon Kang, Shakhnoza Kayumova, Shruti Krishnamoorthy, Ralph Levinson, Sonya N. Martin, Jordan McKenzie, Kathy Mills, Catherine Milne, Ashley Morton, Masakata Ogawa, Rebecca Olson, Roger Patulny, Chantal Pouliot, Leah D. Pride, Anton Puvirajah, S. Lizette Ramos de Robles, Kathryn Scantlebury, Glauco S. F. da Silva, Michael Tan, Kenneth Tobin, and Geeta Verma.


Mijung Kim and Wolff-Michael Roth

Science educators have come to recognize children’s reasoning and problem solving skills as crucial ingredients of scientific literacy. As a consequence, there has been a concurrent, widespread emphasis on argumentation as a way of developing critical and creative minds. Argumentation has been of increasing interest in science education as a means of actively involving students in science and, thereby, as a means of promoting their learning, reasoning, and problem solving. Many approaches to teaching argumentation place primacy on teaching the structure of the argumentative genre prior to and at the beginning of participating in argumentation. Such an approach, however, is unlikely to succeed because to meaningfully learn the structure (grammar) of argumentation, one already needs to be competent in argumentation. This book offers a different approach to children’s argumentation and reasoning based on dialogical relations, as the origin of internal dialogue (inner speech) and higher psychological functions. In this approach, argumentation first exists as dialogical relation, for participants who are in a dialogical relation with others, and who employ argumentation for the purpose of the dialogical relation. With the multimodality of dialogue, this approach expands argumentation into another level of physicality of thinking, reasoning, and problem solving in classrooms. By using empirical data from elementary classrooms, this book explains how argumentation emerges and develops in and from classroom interactions by focusing on thinking and reasoning through/in relations with others and the learning environment.

Thirty Years of Learning Environments

Looking Back and Looking Forward


Edited by David B. Zandvliet and Barry Fraser

This volume is a commemorative book celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Learning Environments of the American Educational Researchers’ Association. It includes a historical perspective starting with the formation of the SIG in 1984 and the first program space at the AERA annual meeting in 1985 in Chicago. This retrospective notes other landmarks in the development of the SIG such as the creation of the international journal Learning Environments Research.

The study of learning environments was first conceptualized around the need to develop perceptual and psychosocial measures for describing students’ individual or shared educational experiences (e.g. ‘feel of the class’ or ‘classroom climate’). Over the ensuing decades, the field expanded considerably from its early roots in science education to describe other phenomenon such as teacher-student interpersonal relationships, or applications in pre-service teacher education and action research.

The book also describes several new areas of promise for the expanding field of learning environments research that in the future will include more diverse contexts and applications. These will include new contexts but established research programs in areas such as information and communications technology and environmental education, but also in emerging research contexts such as the physical classroom environment and links among learning environment contexts and students’ emotional health and well-being.

Contributors are: Perry den Brok, Rosie Dhaliwhal, Barry J. Fraser, Catherine Martin-Dunlop, David Henderson, Melissa Loh, Tim Mainhardt, George Sirrakos, Alisa Stanton, Theo Wubbels, and David B. Zandvliet.

Without a Margin for Error

Urban Immigrant English Language Learners in STEM


Jeremy B. Heyman

In Without a Margin for Error, the author chronicles the journeys of young adults in an under-served urban community who are new to the English language into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related) fields from high school through college. He distills lessons, themes, and policy recommendations from the trails blazed by these students toward altering the status quo around college access and STEM success for often-marginalized but highly resilient young adults with much to contribute to their new nation, their communities, and the world. While drawing on a critical ethnography of over three dozen inspiring young adults, seven students are chronicled in greater depth to bring to life crucial conversations for redefining college readiness, access, and success in STEM fields.

Adventures in Cheeseworld

Learning in the World and on the Job


Mitch Bleier and Ashley N. Morton


Formal schooling in the United States, particularly when publicly funded, tends toward a one-size fits-all transmission model. Although this “works” for some, the decontextualized nature of classrooms and other formal learning environments often does not provide the type of support that many learners need to produce the kinds of knowledge that afford individual satisfaction and fulfillment, and the achievement of personal and professional goals. In this chapter we document a phenomenological, hermeneutic exploration of one learner’s efforts to forge and follow a self-directed professional education project that employs a dynamic bricolage of approaches to achieve knowledge production and participation in a community of practice. The authors explore the birth and development of a cheese professional – cheese maker, affineur and cheesemonger – as she learns in the world and on the job.


Chantal Pouliot


In Quebec City (in the province of Quebec, Canada), a highly publicized environmental controversy emerged in late 2012. Concerning the presence of several heavy metals in the air, this situation involves the bulk transshipment activities of the Port of Québec, located just a few kilometres from the downtown area of Quebec City. In this chapter, I present the main lines of the citizen engagement in the controversy, describe various aspects of my participation in sociopolitical discussions and address the engagement of researchers.


Kenneth Tobin and Lynn Bryan


We participate in a metalogue to generate and expand several critical issues in science education. The issues concern science teacher education, science curriculum and its relationships to sociopolitical issues and connections to everyday life, and the role of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in design and conduct of research in science education. Each of these central areas of science education is complex, and we identify and elaborate on our experiences as science educators to probe deeper into an expanding vortex of possibilities. Scientism and crypto-positivism emerge as pervasive referents for practices that maintain the status quo. Whereas our metalogue describes new pathways to consider in a quest for a bold new, relevant and sustainable science education, our purpose is to prepare readers for what is to follow in a book with 16 chapters authored by 31 scholars from 11 countries.

Creative Critical Inquiry

Transforming Our Understandings of and Engagements in the World


Jennifer D. Adams


Twenty-first century scientific problems are complex and have multiple, intersecting etiologies that require us to work across disciplinary boundaries in order to solve them. This warrants creative scientific thinking that will lead to the new knowledge, innovations and social movements that will address existing and emergent issues and move us towards more equitable and sustainable futures. This chapter offers and approach for thinking about creativity in relation to science teaching and learning. Using the example of extreme climate events, I situate this issue in the economic, historical and social contexts that complicate the both the causes and challenges of addressing this issue. This is followed by a discussion of the Crit-Trans heuristic created to expand opportunities for all students, especially racialized and marginalized students, to engage in science in meaningful ways. I then expand on this heuristic by centering creativity in order to broaden how people approach and address scientific challenges from classroom-based tasks to the larger societal issues. I provide an example of a creative engagement with science to offer a starting point from which to build the creative practices necessary in science teaching and learning in order to imagine and advance a better society for all.


Alberto Bellocchi, Kathy Mills, Rebecca Olson, Roger Patulny and Jordan Mckenzie


STEM education disciplines are facing a dilemma internationally. There is high demand for qualified high quality teachers in science, technology, and mathematics subjects in schools and a trend towards high attrition rates of teachers in the early years. Teacher attrition has been associated with, in part, the high demand for emotion work required on a daily basis in classrooms. Despite this fact, there is dearth of research on teachers’ emotion management in specific disciplinary fields such as science and mathematics education. In this chapter, we address the need for research on teacher emotion work in science and mathematics education through sociological analysis of the lived experiences of two authors. Using narrative vignettes of classroom experiences, we consider what the sociology of emotions can contribute to understanding the emotion work required in science and mathematics classrooms. Following an analysis of the two vignettes, we offer suggestions for research, policy, and practice for addressing STEM teachers’ emotional work through teacher education courses and professional learning.

The Engagement of Community Stakeholders in School Science Education

Tensions and Transformations in a Project Based on Agroecology


Arnau Amat


In this chapter, a case study in which the manner that community stakeholders are engaged in a school science learning project is analyzed. The educational project was framed within the school agroecological approach as the school food system is changed to a more sustainable and fair system using the vegetable garden management. From an event-oriented perspective, four events that allowed the transformation of the school and its community stakeholders are discussed in order to identify the kinds of difficulties faced and how they could be managed. These difficulties are interpreted through a sociocultural lens as a dialectical relationship between agency and structure.