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ERIC Number: EJ1126231
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Writing from Different Cultural Contexts: How College Students Frame an Environmental SSI through Written Arguments
Balgopal, Meena M.; Wallace, Alison M.; Dahlberg, Steven
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v54 n2 p195-218 Feb 2017
The research objective of this study was to describe the frames that students from two culturally distinct institutions used in their argumentative essays on a locally relevant environmental socioscientific issue. Participants (n = 47) were recruited from biology courses designed for pre-service elementary teachers at both a public university and a tribal community college separated by around 80 km. Students participated in iterative writing assignments, class discussion, and small group planning activities. Each student submitted three essays (in total around 140 essays), which were analyzed for the types of claims made, the types of evidence used to support claims, and patterns of argument framing. A framing typology from the science communication discipline was used. Both cohorts used frames around "accountability" and "compromise," but tribal college students were more likely to draw on "morality" frames while university students drew on "economic development" frames. In addition, the tribal students were less likely (58% of essays) to use scientific evidence to support their claims than the university students (96% of essays). We conclude that while frames lend them themselves to using scientific evidence, students from culturally marginalized backgrounds have an opportunity to increase their sense of agency and communicate their argumentative positions on SSIs. We recommend that educators assign WTL activities that allow students to select their own frames but encourage students to integrate scientific evidence in their essays, while also recognizing that how we define science is likely culturally biased.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0930978