Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 441–446 | Cite as

Looking through the lenses of science literacy and cultural diversity: learning from Helena’s mistake

  • Pauline W. U. ChinnEmail author


Maria Andrée focuses on an immigrant student whose error in a laboratory activity leads to a novel, colorful outcome that she excitedly shares with peers. After engaging in class activities for a few weeks she returns to her earlier dislike of science, saying: "I hate science, particularly Chemistry." The classroom activity system focused on reproduction of school knowledge did not expand to accommodate Helena's “new activity system with an object of learning science.” This essay suggests teachers be prepared to teach diverse students in ways supporting multiple ways to engage in science. This becomes possible when teachers view their classrooms as dynamic, participatory activity systems that support content mastery as contributing to but not being identical to science identity and science literacy.


Science literacy Cultural diversity Identity Discourse 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum StudiesUniversity of Hawaii at MānoaHonoluluUSA

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