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Transforming Science Learning and Student Participation in Sixth Grade Science: A Case Study of a Low-Income, Urban, Racial Minority Classroom

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edna Tan, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Recent criticisms of the goal of “science for all” with regard to minority students have alluded to the onerous culture of school science characterized by white, middle-class values that eschew personal everyday science experiences and nontraditional funds of knowledge, in addition to alienating science instruction. Using critically-oriented, sociocultural perspectives, this article explores the sixth grade classroom of a male, white, science teacher in an urban school that serves only minority students. Using Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, and Cain's (2001) notion of figured worlds, we look at what learning science looks like in Mr. M's classroom and how he provides the structural support to increase student participation by creating different figured worlds of sixth grade science. In these different figured worlds, we discuss the pedagogical strategies Mr. M uses to purposefully recruit nontraditional funds of knowledge of racial minority and low-income students, thereby positioning them with more authority for participation. Through this case study of Mr. M and the racial minority and low-income students he teaches, we discuss the role science teachers play in urban school science education and the agency and achievement racial minority and low-income students are capable of with appropriate support.

Additional Information

Publication
Equity & Excellence in Education, 43(1), 38-55
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Science learning, Student participation, Urban, Minority students, Low income, Sixth grade science