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13 Questions

Reframing Education's Conversation: Science


Edited By Lynn A. Bryan and Kenneth Tobin

13 Questions: Reframing Education’s Conversation: Science examines thirteen critical questions confronting contemporary science education and a dynamic and evolving universe threatened by issues of sustainability and disharmony. The world’s leading scholars in science education utilize cutting-edge theories and analyses to illuminate possible pathways in a world threatened by global warming, mass extinctions, and pervasive conflicts. These provocative responses to some of the most difficult questions facing science education to date are intended to provoke, expand, and enlighten readers about possibilities for transforming and enhancing the social and physical worlds we inhabit and for which we are stewards.

The sections of 13 Questions address science curriculum; power and science education; quality of science teachers; quality of science students; quality of science teacher education; equity; language; religion; race; families; culture of science and science education; political issues and science education; and bold visions for science education. The book is international in scope and shows value for difference in the perspectives, values, and theoretical underpinnings of authors.

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Chapter Ten: Confronting Prevailing Narratives of Student Engagement and Participation in Science Classrooms (Sonya N. Martin)


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Confronting Prevailing Narratives of Student Engagement and Participation in Science Classrooms


When asked to contribute to this book by exploring how interest affects student performance in science, I found myself reflecting on how my views about the value of student interest in connection with student achievement have changed over the last 20 years. Serving as a science teacher in the Philadelphia public school system in the northeastern United States in the late 1990s, I was convinced that if I could capture the interest of my students through dynamic and well-designed science lessons, then my students’ active participation and engagement in science learning could be reflected in their academic achievement. These notions were reinforced by participation in teacher education programs and professional development courses that suggested a strong link between student interest in science and positive attitudes towards learning, increased motivations to study science, and increased self-efficacy for performing well on science assessments. In addition, my school district touted hands-on inquiry activities and the creation of student-centered learning environments as essential features for enhancing student interest in science—which would lead to sustained motivation for learning science and achieving at high levels.

As a science teacher, I engaged middle and high school students in action-research projects designed to develop participatory structures that sought to privilege their voice and interests in an effort to expand science learning opportunities and ← 125 | 126 → increase student achievement....

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