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“When You Walk into this Room, You’re Scientists:” How You Can Promote Positive Science-Linked Identities for All Your Students Open Access Deposited

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Date Uploaded: 12/12/2017
Date Modified: 02/04/2020

As the Next Generation Science Standards make clear, equity must be a priority in today’s science classrooms. This means ensuring that all students, regardless of race, gender, and economic or linguistic background, develop positive science-linked identities that allow them to access, evaluate, challenge, and even generate scientific knowledge. Yet, developing positive science-linked identities can be problematic for students who perceive science to be in conflict with other aspects of their identities, such as gender, ethnicity, or economic class. Thus prioritizing equity indicates the need to provide experiences that help all students—and especially those who are historically underrepresented in science—forge positive science-linked identities. This article draws on a yearlong case study conducted in collaboration with a middle grade (5-8) science teacher at an all-female school serving primarily students of color from working class families. Analysis of data, including observations of 102 classes and student interviews and surveys, revealed four promising strategies relevant to all middle school science teachers: (a.) Prioritize communication in science, (b.) Position all students as scientists, (c.) Allow students to be science authorities, and (d.) Demonstrate that science actually matters.

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