Science for citizenship? How do teachers and students in mono- and multi-cultural schools handle work with complex issues?

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Science for citizenship? How do teachers and students in mono- and multi-cultural schools handle work with complex issues?

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Title Science for citizenship? How do teachers and students in mono- and multi-cultural schools handle work with complex issues?
Author(s) Ideland, Malin ; Malmberg, Claes ; Winberg, Mikael
Date 2010
English abstract
Theoretical framework: Socio-scientific issues (SSI) are said to be vehicles for raising students’ interest in science, but also for strengthening generic skills as team-work, problem-solving and media literacy. At the same time these skills are prerequisites for successful work with SSI. How well equipped are students from homes with foreign background and low socio-economic status for working with SSI? They often have lower grades in science subjects. Authentic media texts may constrict bilingual students and it is pointed out that students from families with low socio-economic status are advantaged by strict framing, which is less pronounced in SSI:s. Research topic/aim: The purpose with this paper is to analyze experiences from multi- and monoethnic classrooms when working with SSI. First we will explore what differences and similarities between the two groups that emerge in a quantitative study. The next step is to explore how these emerging aspects can be understood from a qualitative perspective and discuss how the results relate to each other? Do people do what they say that they do, or more exactly do people’s utterances in questionnaires correspond with their actions in the classrooms when it comes to experiences concerning work with SSI? Methodology/research design: Data from a quantitative and a qualitative study is presented and compared in the paper. Secondary school classes (school year 6-9) have worked with SSItasks, produced by researchers, during minimum 5 hours. The quantitative study involves 1614 students from 70 classes. The data consists of questionnaires. The qualitative study involves two classes from different schools. The qualitative data consist of classroom observations (12 lessons, six from each school, and 32 recorded discussions from 8 different groups). Expected conclusions/findings: The results show that despite information from the researchers on aims and workforms for SSI, the teachers observed in the qualitative study tended to fall into old habits, e.g. science content is the primary learning goal and their roles are dispensers of knowledge and supervisors. A normative approach to health issues in the multicultural school is also noteworthy. We can also notice that students are ill-prepared to work autonomous.Students from mono-cultural schools in a higher degree express that they feel comfortable with autonomous work. But observations at school B revealed that also these students needed better framing. We interpret these differences between the studies as a matter of understanding cultural school codes. In the questionnaires the biggest difference between mono- and multicultural schools was the use of internet. But the observations show that all students are illprepared to use other sources than textbooks in science. They have limited skills in information retrieval and critical thinking. Instead they judge information as reliable if it comes from the teacher or is similar to textbooks. Students, regardless ethnic background, have difficulties with these parts of the work. They are not suitable equipped for the workform. Relevance for Nordic Educational research: In this changing society multiculturalism ned to be studied from different perspectives. In this paper we we look into multicultural science education from a new angle, how to understand clashes between different discourses in school.
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Host/Issue Abstracts, Active Citizenship
Pages Abstract 208, s 188
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Secondary Science
Socioscientific issues
Multiethnic school
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education::Subject didactics
Note NERA's 38th Congress - Active Citizenship (Nordisk Förening för Pedagogisk Forskning) 11-13 March 2010 Malmö University School of Teacher Education, Malmö, Sweden
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