Research in Science Education

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 749–784 | Cite as

What Can a Teacher Do to Support Students’ Interest in Science? A Study of the Constitution of Taste in a Science Classroom

  • Per AnderhagEmail author
  • Karim Mikael Hamza
  • Per-Olof Wickman


In this study, we examined how a teacher may make a difference to the way interest develops in a science classroom, especially for students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. We adopted a methodology based on the concept of taste for science drawing on the work of John Dewey and Pierre Bourdieu. We investigated through transcripts from video recordings how such a taste is socially constituted in a 9th grade (ages 15–16) science classroom, where there was evidence that the teacher was making a positive difference to students’ post-compulsory school choice with regard to science. Salient findings regarding how this teacher supported students’ interest are summarized. For example, the teacher consistently followed up how the students acknowledged and enjoyed purposes, norms, and values of the science practice and so ensuing that they could participate successfully. During these instances, feelings and personal contributions of the students were also acknowledged and made continuous with the scientific practice. The results were compared with earlier research, implications are discussed, and some suggestions are given about how these can be used by teachers in order to support student interest.


Interest Taste Norms Values Aesthetics Exemplary teaching Science education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Per Anderhag
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karim Mikael Hamza
    • 1
  • Per-Olof Wickman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Science EducationStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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