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Expanding and enacting transformative meanings of equity, diversity and social justice in science education

Abstract

In this paper, we provide a conceptual critique of the various constructs often used to justify policies and/or research to promote equity, diversity and social justice in science education. As research expands in these areas, we seek to provide some clarity to support researchers in deepening their work toward transformative goals in science teaching and learning. First, we explore the ways in which researches often argue why equity, diversity or social justice should be addressed, detailing arguments for economic superiority, morality and sociotransformative action. Next, we outline how researchers have argued that equity, diversity and social justice should be addressed including approaches such as equal distribution, mandated policy and sociotransformative education. We conclude with some examples  of recent research that bring into practice the lesser known of these, the sociotransformative approach, arguing that this approach provides the field of science education research with a more promising way to create sustainable change. The sociotransformative approach is centered on improving the lived experiences of historically marginalized youth and encourages researchers to focus on reporting research as narratives of engagement. That is, a more representative and balanced analysis of the challenges and successes of teaching and learning in culturally diverse schools and of the responsive (and responsible) role researchers can (and should) play in helping bring about positive social change. This paper helps situate the other articles in this special issue in the larger conversations on equity, diversity and social justice occurring within the field of science education.

Resumen

En este artículo, ofrecemos una crítica conceptual de los diversos constructos utilizados a menudo para justificar políticas y / o investigación para promover la equidad, la diversidad y la justicia social en la educación científica. A medida que la investigación se expande en estas áreas, buscamos proporcionar cierta claridad para apoyar a los investigadores a profundizar su trabajo hacia objetivos transformadores en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de las ciencias. Primero, exploramos las formas en que los investigadores a menudo discuten por qué deben abordarse la equidad, la diversidad o la justicia social, detallando sus argumentos para la superioridad económica, la moralidad o la acción sociotransformativa. A continuación, describimos cómo los investigadores han argumentado que se deben abordar la equidad, la diversidad y la justicia social, incluyendo enfoques como la distribución equitativa, las políticas obligatorias y la educación sociotransformativa. Concluimos con algunos ejemplos de investigaciones recientes que ponen en práctica el enfoque menos conocido, el enfoque sociotransformativo--argumentando que este enfoque proporciona al campo de la investigación en educación científica una forma más prometedora de crear un cambio sostenible. El enfoque sociotransformativo se centra en la mejora de las experiencias vividas de los jóvenes históricamente marginados y alienta a los investigadores a centrar sus reportes científicos en unas narrativas de activismo. Es decir, un análisis más representativo y equilibrado de los desafíos y éxitos de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje en escuelas culturalmente diversas y del papel receptivo (y responsable) que los investigadores pueden (y deben) desempeñar para ayudar a lograr un cambio social positivo. Este documento ayuda a situar los otros artículos en este número especial en las conversaciones más amplias sobre equidad, diversidad y justicia social que se producen en el campo de la educación científica.

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Correspondence to Alberto J. Rodriguez.

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This manuscript is part of the special issue Equity in Science Teacher Education: Toward an Expanded Definition, guest edited by Brian Fortney, Deb Morrison, Alberto J. Rodriguez, and Bhaskar Upadhyay.

Lead Editors: B. Fortney & B. Upadhyay.

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Rodriguez, A.J., Morrison, D. Expanding and enacting transformative meanings of equity, diversity and social justice in science education. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 14, 265–281 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09938-7

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Keywords

  • Equity
  • Social justice
  • Sociotransformative constructivism
  • Critical
  • Cross-cultural education