Body talk. Students’ science learning and identity construction

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Body talk. Students’ science learning and identity construction

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Title Body talk. Students’ science learning and identity construction
Author(s) Ideland, Malin ; Malmberg, Claes
Date 2011
English abstract
The aim of the paper is to analyse how teenagers (age 14-15) talk about body and health after a finished work with a socio-scientific issue on the same theme. How can their discussions about body, health and science education be understood in terms of a constantly ongoing identity construction, especially in terms of gender, social class, ethnicity and “studentship”? Our aim is to show how these categories intersect and produce meaning in students’ talk about a topic socio-scientific issue. The paper is departing from a social theory on learning, e.g. learning and identity construction are interdependent on each other; meaning is constructed in relation to a community. Sadler (2009) has emphasized socio-scientific issues as a way to open up for communities of practice where students’ identities can be expressed and they can use appropriated discourses. In this paper we intend to problematize Sadler’s theories and show the complexity of students’ identity construction during school work. Even if they can engage in a common issue, they are doing it in completely different ways. We will use an intersectional perspective to get deeper understanding of the relations between science learning and students identity construction. The paper also intends to discuss what subject positions that are available when students discuss a topical, political issue in the science classroom. The article is mainly built on data from focus group discussions about knowledge and values concerning body and health. Focus group 1 consisted of four girls from “Suburban school”, a monoethnic school in a suburban, middle class area with high educational level. Focus group 2 consisted of four boys from the same school. Focus group 3 consisted of six girls from “Urban school”, located in a multiethnic urban area with low socio-economic status, low educational level and high degree of unemployment. Focus group 4 consisted of four boys from the same school. We analyse the discussions from a discourse psychological perspective, e.g. how the students use different discursive repertoires to construct their identities in a specific situation. We use intersectional theory to bring light on how the use and dominance of repertoires has to be seen both as a kind of learning and as an ongoing identity construction in terms of gender, ethnicity, social class and “studentship”. The analyse show differences between the groups. For example, the girl group from “Suburban school” had a large focus on disciplining their bodies, but also talked about science knowledge as a commodity, which could be exchanged for good grades. We interpret this as a typical identity of ethnic Swedish, middle class girls who are “inside” the order of the public discourse. This result could be compared with how the girls in the “Urban school” rather expressed a resistance-identity, joking about fast food, not worrying about grades and so on. Our analyse discuss how this kind of differences must be understood not only in terms of social class and ethnicity, but as a result of gender and “studentship”. These categories are analysed together.
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Publisher Linköpings universitet
Pages 1-2
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) discourse
socioscientific issue
social class
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note The 10th Nordic research symposium on science teaching (NFSUN) 14th - 16th June 2011 Linköping, Sweden.
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