ERIC Number: EJ1168846
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Becoming Science Learners: A Study of Newcomers' Identity Work in Elementary School Science
Gamez, Rebeca; Parker, Carolyn A.
Science Education, v102 n2 p377-413 Mar 2018
This study investigates how two newcomer students, Elena and Martin, identified with and in science within the context of a classroom utilizing a reform-based science curriculum where instruction occurred only in English. Using ethnographic case study methods, we drew from anthropological theories on identity development and sociocultural perspectives on language development to argue that as English language proficiency mediated the newcomers' access to academic content, the viability of the newcomers' authored science-related identities in practice were contingent on the dynamics generated within their small groups. We conceptualized the small groups as microfigured worlds and show how these spaces, in particular the kinds of patterned activities and practices that emerged in relation to the use of language brokering and/or code switching, mediated the kinds of identities in practices that the newcomers were able to author. We end the article by interpreting our results in relation to how Ms. Hall, the teacher, structured her classroom and discuss the relevance of race/ethnicity and gender. We conclude with suggestions about how focusing on group, or peer networks, might inform both theory and practice around how newcomers, and emergent bilinguals more broadly, engage in science.
Descriptors: Novices, Elementary School Science, Elementary School Teachers, Elementary School Students, Self Concept, Identification (Psychology), Learner Engagement, Science Instruction, Science Curriculum, Language of Instruction, English, English Language Learners, Ethnography, Case Studies, Student Development, Language Proficiency, Small Group Instruction, Code Switching (Language), Immigrants, Culturally Relevant Education, Bilingual Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1237992