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ERIC Number: ED549810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 338
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-9294-0
Transcending the Conventional Science Curriculum: Supporting Students in the Negotiation of Meaning and Finding Their Place in Science
Price, Jeremy Forest
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston College
Science education in schools is often inadvertently designed so that it is frequently inconsistent with students' lived experiences (Aikenhead, 1996, 2001; Brickhouse & Potter, 2001). Science is therefore seen by students as an endeavor for someone else, contributing to a lack of access to the knowledge necessary to address scientific and environmental issues (Calabrese Barton, 2002; Fraser-Abder, Atwater, & Lee, 2006). This research promotes an exploration of meanings, allowing students to find their place in science and the roles that science fills for them. I assert that the consideration of humanistic approaches to science education provides the base necessary to transcend the uncritical acceptance of the assumptions of the conventional science curriculum. Through a review of the literature, I provide a survey of three humanistic pathways in science education: liberal, renewal, and cultural-progressive. I developed activities in cooperation with a high school biology teacher based on these approaches: drawing pictures of science-in-action, a specialized gallery walk, a role play, and the storyboarding of a science-oriented public service announcement. Utilizing qualitative research methods and drawing on the concept of figured worlds (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998; Urrieta, 2007), this project was conducted in a high school biology classroom with a diverse range of students. Research methods included classroom observations over a period of eight weeks, ethnographic interviews, artifact collection and analysis, pile sorts, rank ordering, and oral and written reflections by the teacher and her students. Analysis of this data suggests that the meanings of science for students and their teacher were diverse and emergent through the interactions of personal histories and developing identities, activities, and reflection. This research further illustrates how integrating the plurality of the humanistic approaches to science education provides ways for students and teachers to engage in meaningful, rich, and cognitively challenging experiences. Such experiences allow for the exploration of meaning and possible identities in and with science. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A