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Series:

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.

Without a Margin for Error

Urban Immigrant English Language Learners in STEM

Series:

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

Series:

Mitch Bleier and Ashley N. Morton

Abstract

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.

Series:

Kenneth Tobin and Lynn Bryan

Abstract

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

Series:

Jennifer D. Adams

Abstract

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.

The Engagement of Community Stakeholders in School Science Education

Tensions and Transformations in a Project Based on Agroecology

Series:

Arnau Amat

Abstract

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.

Series:

Geeta Verma, Anton Puvirajah and Helen Douglass

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine two out-of-school learning contexts to gain insights into the mediation and manifestation of power among students. We investigated and report herein the participation of mainstream high school students in a robotics competition and elementary-aged underrepresented minority students in a supplementary and optional take home project (SOTHP). Informal learning contexts (including out-of-school contexts) provide alternative sites for knowledge production in the sense that students’ participation is mostly voluntary, free-choice, self-paced, and non-sequential. We argue that the language and culture of science, cultural products of the scientific community, are profoundly important as they have a unique system of resources for creating meaning and scientific knowledge. Examining students’ experiences in informal social settings allows for studying the manifestation and mediation of power and privilege (Puvirajah, Verma, & Webb, 2012). We contend that power is a phenomenon that is played out in everyday social interactions and therefore is not a distant construct. Michel Foucault (1975) argues that power is omnipresent in all human social endeavours. Artifacts such as language and social interactions reveal, create, reflect, obscure, and depoliticize power (Ng & Bradac, 1993). That is, these artifacts can show the extent to which power is exerted, used, negotiated, realized, abused, accepted, and challenged. As such, it is important to examine how these artifacts are used in doing science and especially how language is used in learning and teaching science. This examination allows us to create experiences for students to engage in and understand the language and culture of science so that they can move toward authentic membership in the scientific community. The chapter focuses on the following conceptual question: How do social contexts and discourses of two informal learning environments reveal the mediation of power among students?

I Know What I Want to Teach but How Can I Know What They Are Going to Learn?

Creative Science Teaching: An Uncertain, Emancipatory and Perturbing Endeavour

Series:

Ralph Levinson

Abstract

Through reflections on my own history of learning and observing significant teaching episodes of others in teaching science I argue for a transformative programme of science teaching which is knowledgeable and non-presumptive. In doing so I draw on Hannah Arendt’s depiction of praxis as central to the collaborative enterprise and openness of learning, and Emanuel Levinas’ conceptualisation of the Other in creating an ontology of nature which is non-dominant. In neoliberal education systems driven by an instrumental and corporatist STEM agenda such possibilities might seem remote but placing social justice at the very core of pedagogy, resistance to short-term instrumental outcomes can be successfully achieved through ‘collaborative resonance’.

Mind the Gap Between Science, Teaching and Education

Challenges for Enacting Bold and Transformative Visions in Science Education

Series:

Glauco Silva, MarcÍLia Barcellos and Elisabeth Souza

Abstract

In the last years, Brazilian politicians have been through a crisis that has affected several sections of the population, as well as some important and contradictory changes. The 2013 protests, the presidential electoral race in 2014, and subsequent events that led to the process of the very controversial president’s impeachment are important events that contextualize the current moment in Brazil. The polarization between conservative thoughts and progressive social movements have become strong and evident. Consequently, this controversial and delicate moment imposed by politics places Brazilian schools in a dilemma and an associated spread of radical attitudes. On the one hand there is the defence of a ‘School without Party’, which intends to be technical, apolitical, without ideologies, reduced to the function of transmitting information. On the other hand, there is a history of liberating and transforming education, emphasizing reflection on and through action, as it was figured by Paulo Freire. Although the university frequently relates itself to the second perspective, its practices in the education of teachers do not create conditions for the emergence of a critical and liberating education. Our aim with this chapter is, firstly, to relate the recently political phenomena with the increase of the distance between the school, science content and reality (the gap!). From this vantage point, we are going to present our bold vision based on Freire’s perspective of a liberating education, grounded on our concrete experiences. We are going to emphasize the urgent need to rebuild that relation as a way to overcome the technical and apolitical formation of science students and teachers departing from a correlated and dialogical education.

Science Education as a Material Issue?

Exploring the Role of Materiality in Science Education through the Lens of Baradian Theory

Series:

Colin Hennessy Elliott, Shruti Krishnamoorthy, Catherine Milne and Kathryn Scantlebury

Abstract

In what ways can human-matter intra-action as a teaching lens frame science-teaching learning in the classroom?

Applying Karen Barad’s post humanist theory, we explore how techno-scientific practices allow us to investigate the rich context of education in the making. Such perspectives lead us to argue for a focus on how material-discursive practice emerge through the intra-activity between human and matter agents as a source of locally intelligible phenomena. Traditional humanist models of teaching and learning locate agential responsibility in a specific human agent, which serves to separate the world of education into dichotomies: the teacher from the taught, the knower from the known, the self from other, and the object from the subject. Baradian theory challenges us to focus instead on intra-actions, which do not assume pre-existing object agents but accepts that it is through specific intra-actions that phenomena in all their complexity emerge. We must work from the perspective that agential responsibility, which constitutes responsibly embodied engagement in a material world, and recognize that there are consequences, possibilities, and responsibilities for intra-actions. Drawing on examples from co-teaching, self-assessment and emergent classroom practice, we use Barad’s theory, specifically her notions of agential realism, diffraction and entanglement, to propose models of practice that make intra-actions the focus with the goal of making learning more ethical, affective and inclusive.