27 SES 11 C, Values, Norms and Gender Issues
In order to explore norms and values that may affect student’s identity and interests, the Swedish national assessments in chemistry in grade nine of compulsory school, were analysed. It is a critical discourse analysis that builds on socio culture and feministic theories. The research questions posed: what norms and values constitute the chemistry discourse in the tests? How is chemistry mediated, in relation to norms and values concerning people, animals, nature and society?
The report from the ROSE project (Sjøberg & Schreiner 2010) has contributed with an international overview of young people's spheres of interest and attitudes toward science and technology. The key findings show that 15 year-old students harbouring a diminishing interest in science and technology in the rich part of the world and that this is especially noticeable in the Nordic countries and Japan. Moreover girls have less interest for science and technology than boys at the same age and that this difference is growing.
Teaching in science has influence on whether the students feel included or excluded from the science context, and in the long run if they can identify with the subjects (Brickhouse 2000, Hasse 2002, Danielsson 2009). Only “the right one” may come into this epistemological community (Miller 2006), that is, into the special socio cultural group that harbour a common concept of knowledge that gradually becomes internalized into the individuals, in terms of mindsets and way of speaking and thinking. This is supported by the socio-culture theories in how thinking is socially constructed and internalized in the way people speak and act in special discourses and thereby valued by the culture (Vygotskij 1986, Dewey 2009).
Feminist researchers have pointed out that science is male-coded (Harding 1986, Fox Keller 1985, Haraway1988, Brickhouse 2001, Gilbert 2001). Harding also claims that science in its various forms, whose power and influence shows itself by everything connected with our society’s structure, to the way we think, feel and act, is not only androcentric but also racial, cultural and class segregating (Harding 1986).
Many students have trouble to identify with the stereotypical picture of the scientist. They cannot find that school science is consistent with what they value as essential and interesting, compared to other subjects in school and considering future jobs, careers and health aspects (Sjøberg & Schreiner 2010). There are implicit and sometimes explicit knowledge, alongside with the science contents that affect students’ views of the subject and their thoughts about societal norms and values (W. Klafki 1997, T. Englund 1997, L. Östman 1995, D. Roberts 1998). This explicit and implicit knowledge occur in textbooks, assessments and science activities among other things, and by the teachers influence. They may differ and be shaped by different traditions, beliefs and purposes of teaching which in turn is based on political guidelines, historical and social factors and the relationship to the scientific disciplines (Englund 1997). These phenomena have, within the science education, been explored by Douglas A. Roberts (1982, 1988, 1998) and by Leif Östman (1995) through there analyses of textbooks and curriculums in school science in North America and in Sweden. Östman (1995) describes these norms and values as knowledge that we take with us in life and which influence how we for example relate to other people and nature.
Björkvall, A. (2010). Den visuella texten: Multimodal analys i praktiken. [The visual text: Multimodal analysis in practice]. Uppsala: Hallgren & Fallgren. Brickhouse, N. W., Lowerly, P., Schultz K. (2000). What kind of girls Does Science? The Construction of School Science Identities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 37(5), 441-458. Brickhouse, N.W. (2001). Embodying Science: A Feminist Perspective on Learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3). Danielsson, A. T. (2009). Doing Physics – Doing Gender. Uppsala: Uppsala University. Dewey, J. (2009). Demokrati och utbildning. [Democracy and Education]. Göteborg: Daidalos. Englund, T. (1997). Undervisning som meningserbjudanden. [Teaching as an offer of meaning]. In Uljens, M. (ed.): Didaktik: teori, reflektion och praktik. [Didactics: theory, reflection and practice]. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing Discourse. Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge. Fox Keller, E. (1977). The Anomaly of Woman in Physics. In S. Ruddickand & P. Daniels (Eds.): Working It Out ( 78-91). New York: Pantheon Books. Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14, 575-599. Hasse, C. (2002). Gender Diversity in Play with Physics: The Problem of Premises for Participation in Activities. Mind, culture, and activity. 9(4), 250-269. Harding, S. (1986). The Science Question in Feminism: Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Klafki, W. (1997). Kritisk- konstruktiv didaktik.[Critical-constructive Didaktik]. In Uljens M. (ed.): Didaktik: teori, reflektion och praktik. [Didactics: theory, reflection and practice]. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Kress, G, & van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: A grammar of visual design. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. Miller, P. H. (2006). Contemporary Perspectives from Human Development: Implications for Feminist Scholarship. Signs, 31(2), 445-469. Roberts, D.A. (1988). What counts as science education. In Fensham Peter. (ed.): Development dilemmas in science education. London: Falmer Press. Roberts, D.A. (1982). Developing the concept of “Curriculum emphases” in science education? Science Education, 62(2), 243-260. Roberts, D.A., Östman, L. (1998). Problems of Meaning in Science Curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press Sjøberg, S., Schreiner, C. (2010). The ROSE Project. An Overview and Key Findings. Oslo: University of Oslo. Skolverket (2014) Bedömning: Nationella prov & bedömningsstöd. [Assessment: National tests & assessment support]. http://www.skolverket.se/nationell-prov-bedomningsstod [2014-01-29] Vygotskij, Lev S., Koyuzelin (rev. ed.)(1986). Thought and Language. Cambriddge Mass.: MIT Press, cop. Östman, L. (1995) Socialisation och mening. No-utbildning som politiskt och miljömoraliskt problem. [ Socialization and meaning. Science education as a political and environmental moral problem]. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.
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