ROOTS: I am science

The point of interest of this study is that of students’ educational achievement. In the Dutch context, students with migrant backgrounds, even with making gains in attending secondary schools award higher qualifications upon matriculation and gaining more basic qualifications, they are still lagging behind the students that are considered as Dutch natives. Specifically, students with migrant backgrounds are more likely to be tracked into the lower track, earning a basic certificate upon matriculation.

Theoretical Underpinnings 

The research is employing a culturally relevant/responsive and sustainable pedagogy in science education, which offers an opportunity to address the glaring inequalities in science education in the Netherlands especially in primary education. Offering this intervention in primary education is most crucial because it is at the end of primary education that students are funneled into the three educational tracks in secondary education. The choice of an after-school community program resonates within theories of learning and empirical evidence pointing to the fact that such spaces, unlike classrooms, provide motivating structures which have the potential to disrupt power dynamics and hierarchical relationships usually produced between students from the dominant group and students belonging in minoritised groups.

Research question

Situated within these theoretical perspectives, the research study will address the following overarching research question: How does the synergy of culturally relevant, responsive, and sustainable pedagogies support marginalized students’ authoring of disrupting science identities in community-based settings?

The term disrupting identity is used to refer to identity politics and the kinds of identities that are challenging existing inequality systems as well as social, cultural, and educational borders and boundaries.

Research methods

The study follows a qualitative ethnographic case study approach.  The context is defined by the community-based science program, defined as a place where educators, family members, the curriculum, and children interact and constantly inform each other.  Research data from educators, students and family members will be collected through ethnographic observations, interviews, personal diaries, and student work (e.g., artifacts, drawings, photovoice assignments). 

Contact:

Theila Smith, Phd student

Institute for Science Education and Communication

t.s.smith@rug.nl

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