Social class in science class


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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Social class in science class
Author(s) Jobér, Anna
Date 2012
English abstract
Earlier research shows that there is a relation between social class and science education. Many students do not reach the goals for science set by their national curricula and failure in science has been shown to be more strongly correlated to social class than any other school subject. Moreover, success in school science has been shown to act as a gatekeeper to higher education, thus broadening life chances of those who succeed, while limiting the future opportunities of those who fail. Consequently many students from low social class fails in subjects that are constructed as important and highly valued. Science education becomes key factor in the reproduction of an unequal society rather than to contribute to science for all. However, there is little research done regarding how social class is shown and manifested in the science classroom, in the everyday life of the classroom. Thus, the overall aim of this research is to contribute to our understanding of the relation between social class and science class. Data were collected with an ethnographic approach at a Swedish compulsory school during a unit of physics. Results were analysed using concepts from foremost Bourdieu and Bernstein. The results showed that many taken for granted activities and practices in this science classroom reproduced inequalities. For example; a weakly framed laboratory work gave a sense of freedom however reduced the possibilities for those student that could not recognise and realize what to do. The result also showed that it is the form of the content, rather than the content itself that hinder students. This was clearly shown in the dialogues where student with appropriate cultural capital could interact more easily while others struggled with the interpretation. Thus, this research addresses the everyday classroom practices and different pedagogical models in the science classroom.
Pages 4
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) social class
science class
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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