Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1115–1134 | Cite as

“In biology class we would just sit indoors…”: Experiences of insideness and outsideness in the places student teachers’ associate with science

  • Anna T. Danielsson
  • Kristina Andersson
  • Annica Gullberg
  • Anita Hussénius
  • Kathryn Scantlebury
Original Paper


In this article we explore the places pre- and primary school (K-6) student teachers associate with their science learning experiences and how they view the relationship between these places and science. In doing so, we use ‘place’ as an analytical entry point to deepen the understanding of pre- and primary school student teachers’ relationship to science. Inspired by theories from human geography we firstly explore how the university science classroom can be conceptualised as a meeting place, where trajectories of people as well as artefacts come together, using this conceptualisation as the stepping stone for arguing the importance of the place-related narrations of science the students bring to this classroom. We thereafter analyse how a sense of place, including affective dimensions, is reflected in Swedish student teachers’ science learning narratives (collected in the form of an essay assignment where the student teachers’ reflected upon their in and out of school science learning experiences). The empirical material consists of 120 student essays. The most prominent feature of the empirical material as a whole is the abundance of affective stories about the student teachers’ experiences in natural environments, often expressing a strong sense of belonging to, and identification with, a particular place. However, the student narratives also give voice to an ambivalent valuing of the affective experiences of natural environments. Sometimes such affective experiences are strongly delineated from what the students consider actual science knowledge, on other occasions, students, in a somewhat contradictious way, stress natural environments as the authentic place for doing science, in contrast to the perceived in-authenticity of teaching science in the classroom. When student teachers explicitly discuss the classroom as a place, this was almost without exception with strong negative emotions, experiences of outsideness and alienation.


Teacher education Place Primary teacher education Preschool teacher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna T. Danielsson
    • 1
  • Kristina Andersson
    • 1
  • Annica Gullberg
    • 1
  • Anita Hussénius
    • 1
  • Kathryn Scantlebury
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Gender ResearchUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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