Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 411–418 | Cite as

Supporting teachers for race-, class-, and gender-responsive science teaching

  • Sarah Riggs Stapleton


In this response to Tang Wee Teo’s article Inside versus outside the science classroom: examining the positionality of two female science teachers at the boundaries of science education, I will extend the conversation around Teo’s finding that the teachers in her study had difficulty translating their “politicized positionalities” into their science teaching by exploring some reasons why this might occur. These reasons are that (1) depending on how positionality is conceived, it could be a limiting mechanism in addition to an empowering one; (2) school and national contexts in which teachers are embedded can frame possibilities for their positionality and science teaching practices; and (3) teachers need support to examine their positionalities, understand how power issues are at work in science, and apply these issues to science teaching. I will elaborate on each of these factors and consider possibilities for helping all science teachers move toward power-sensitive science teaching. I will also propose several practices for incorporating power issues into science curricula.


Race/class/gender-responsive science teaching Positionality Feminist pedagogies 


  1. Bianchini, J. A., Hilton-Brown, B. A., & Breton, T. D. (2002). Professional development for university scientists around issues of equity and diversity: Investigating dissent within community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(8), 738–771. doi: 10.1002/tea.10043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloom, J. (2006). Creating a community of young scientists (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Calabrese Barton, A. (2003). Teaching science for social justice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  4. Capobianco, B. (2007). Science teachers’ attempts at integrating feminist pedagogy through collaborative action research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(1), 1–32. doi: 10.1002/tea.20120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gould, S. J. (1996). The mismeasure of man. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  6. Harding, S. (2006). Science and social inequality: Feminist and postcolonial issues. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  7. Harré, R., & Maghaddam, F. (2003). Introduction: The self and others in traditional psychology and in positioning theory. In R. Harre & F. Maghaddam (Eds.), The Self and Others: positioning individuals and groups in personal, political, and cultural contexts. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  8. Moore, F. (2008). Positional identity and science teacher professional development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(6), 684–710. doi: 10.1002/tea.20258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Pollack, E. (2013). Why are there still so few women in science? The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2013 from
  10. Rivera Maulucci, M. S. (2013). Emotions and positional identity in becoming a social justice science teacher: Nicole’s story. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50(4), 453–478. doi: 10.1002/tea.21081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Teo, T. W. (2014). Inside versus outside the science classroom: examining the positionality of two female science teachers at the boundaries of science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education. doi: 10.1007/s11422-014-9581-4.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher EducationMichigan State University College of EducationEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations