Advertisement

Diversity, Human Rights and Physics Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Critical Awareness

  • Tanja Tajmel
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter deals with diversity in physics education through a discourse analytical lens by examining the discourse on diversity from different perspectives. One perspective is the utilitarian one, which sees diversity as a human resource that should not remain untapped. Thus, physics education should promote those, who, so far, have been underrepresented in physics and science careers. The other perspective is the emancipatory-humanistic one, which considers disparities in performance and careers as indicator for social inequalities resulting in limited access to physics education. From this perspective, physics education itself might contribute to social inequality as it reproduces certain patterns of inequality. The two perspectives provide different arguments for the promotion of diversity in science education and have huge influence on the common perception and justification of physics education itself. Is the primary task of physics education to “produce” economically exploitable scientific workforce, or is physics education of importance for the empowerment of the individual, and, thus, independent from economic exploitability? What does it mean for educators to promote or consider diversity in physics education in this respect? As physics teachers and science educators are agents in the process of scientific socialisation, a critical awareness of teachers and education researchers amongst diversity becomes increasingly relevant. Considering diversity in the common conceptual delineation of diversity—categorising individuals by certain characteristics from an essentialist standpoint—bears the risk of tokenising, stereotyping, “othering” and discrimination. The human rights perspective and the right to STEM education provide an approach towards a critical understanding of diversity and a framework for the empowerment of the individual.

References

  1. Aikenhead, G. (1996): Science Education: Border Crossing into the Subculture of Science. In: Studies in Science Education, 27: 1–52ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aikenhead, G. (2006): Science Education for Everyday Life. Evidence-Based Practice. Teachers College Press, Columbia University, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1987): Der feine Unterschied. Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft, suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, Bd. 658. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main.Google Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. (1991): Language and symbolic power. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  5. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), General Comment No. 13, The Right to Education (Art.13), Twenty-first session, 8 December, 1999, available online at: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(symbol)/E.C.12.1999.10.En?OpenDocument (last checked: 11 June 2008).
  6. Costa, V. (1995): When science is another world: Relationships between worlds of family, friends, school, and science. In: Science Education, 79: 313–333.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crenshaw, K. (1989): Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. In: The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989, 1.Google Scholar
  8. Harding, S. (1991): Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women’s Lives. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Harding, S. (2006): Science and Social Inequality. Feminist and Postcolonial Issues. Race and Gender in Science Studies. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago.Google Scholar
  10. Hussénius, A. (2014): Science education for all, some or just a few? Feminist and gender perspectives on science education: a special issue. In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, 9, 2: 255–262.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, available online at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx (last checked: 11 December 2018).
  12. Keeley, B. (2007): OECD Insights: Human capital. How what you know shapes your life. OECD Publishing, Paris.Google Scholar
  13. Lemke, J. (1990): Talking Science: Language, Learning and Values. Language and Educational Processes. Ablex Publishing, Westport.Google Scholar
  14. Lemke, J. (2011): The secret identity of science education: masculine and politically conservative? In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, 6: 287–292.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lemke, J. (2001): Articulating communities: Sociocultural perspectives on science education. In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 3: 296–316.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. OECD (1999): Measuring students knowledge and skills: A new framework for assessment. (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development). OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
  17. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) (ed.), Where Immigrant Students Succeed – A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003, OECD, Paris, 2006.Google Scholar
  18. Roth, W.-M. & Lee, S. (2002): Scientific literacy as collective praxis. In: Public Understanding of Science, 11, 1: 33–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Said, E. (1978): Orientalism. Vintage, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Starl, K. (2009): The Human Rights Approach to Science Education. In: Tajmel, T. & Starl, K. [Eds.]: Science Education Unlimited. Approaches to Equal Opportunities in Learning Science, 19–36. Waxmann, Münster, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Tajmel, T. (2009): Does Migration Background Matter? Preparing Teachers for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the Science Classroom. In: Tajmel, T. & Starl, K. [Eds.]: Science Education Unlimited. Approaches to Equal Opportunities in Learning Science, 201–214. Waxmann, Münster, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Tajmel, T. (2017): Naturwissenschaftliche Bildung in der Migrationsgesellschaft. Grundzüge einer Reflexiven Physikdidaktik und kritisch-sprachbewussten Praxis. Springer VS. Wiesbaden, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tajmel, T. & Starl, K. (2005): PROMISE - Promotion of Migrants in Science Education. ETC Occasional Paper No. 18. URL: http://etc-graz.at/typo3/ index.php?id=74, last checked: 12/11/2016.
  24. Tajmel, T., Starl, K. & Schön, L.-H. (2009): Detect the Barriers and Leave Them Behind – Science Education in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms. In: Tajmel, T. & Starl, K. [Eds.]: Science Education Unlimited. Approaches to Equal Opportunities in Learning Science, 67–84. Waxmann, Münster, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Tobin, K. (2009): Difference as a resource for learning and enhancing science education. In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4, 4: 755–760.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tomaševski, K., Human Rights Obligations in Education: The 4-A Scheme, Wolf Legal Publishers, Nijmegen, 2006.Google Scholar
  27. Van Eijck, M. (2013): Reflexivity and Diversity in Science Education Research in Europe: Towards Cultural Perspectives. In: Mansour, N., Wegerif, R., Milne, C., Siry, C. & Mueller, M. P. [Hrsg.]: Science Education for Diversity, Cultural Studies of Science Education, 65–78. Springer, Heidelberg New York London.Google Scholar
  28. Wegerif, R., Postlethwaite, K., Skinner, N., Mansour, N., Morgan, A. & Hetherington, L. (2013): Dialogic Science Education for Diversity. Theory and Practice. In: Mansour, N., Wegerif, R., Milne, C., Siry, C. & Mueller, M. P. [Hrsg.]: Science Education for Diversity, Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3–22. Springer, Heidelberg New York London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Websites

  1. http://www.monsanto.com/global/in/careers/pages/diversity.aspx (last checked 01/13/2017)Google Scholar
  2. http://www.nestle.com/jobs/your-career-at-nestle/your-work-life (last checked 01/13/2017)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Tajmel
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Engineering in Society, Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations