Frameworks for Examining the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender on English Language Learners in K-12 Science Education in the USA

  • Sonya N. Martin
  • Beth Wassell
  • Kathryn Scantlebury
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 5)


In this chapter, we argue that intersectionality and cultural sociology can be used as complementary theoretical frameworks to gain multifaceted understandings about the learning needs of language minority (LM) and English language learner (ELL) students in science classrooms. By employing these frameworks, researchers can better understand the complex relationship between globalization and e|im|migration at global levels and the resulting impacts on school environments at local levels. We draw connections between international migration patterns and the impact on individual teachers, students, and communities in local contexts to illustrate some of the challenges facing teachers and students in linguistically and ethnically diverse science classrooms in two urban K-8 schools. We conclude this chapter by raising some questions related to policy, teacher practice, and science teacher education, which we feel are critical for promoting the academic success of LM/ELL students in K-12 science classrooms in the USA.


Science Classroom Language Proficiency Language Minority English Language Learner Science Teacher Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This material is based upon work supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, HRD 1036637. G-SPELL Gender and Science Proficiency for English Language Learners. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonya N. Martin
    • 1
  • Beth Wassell
    • 2
  • Kathryn Scantlebury
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biology Education, College of EducationSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.College of EducationRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry & BiochemistryUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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