Kane, J. M. (2016). Young african american boys narrating identities in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(1), 95-118.
The goal of this study is to bring the voices of African American boys front and center in science education research in an effort to strengthen our understandings of their experiences of school and science. Using an interpretivist perspective within a narrative inquiry approach, I focus on the student and science-student identities two African American boys constructed as they spoke about their participation in a science class that aimed to help them see themselves as people who can do science. I found that narratives offer opportunities to see the ways in which classroom and science structures become intertwined with children’s agentic ways of developing for themselves a place in science. When children narrate science identities, they do not limit themselves to the content of the curricula, but meld together various ideas and experiences and draw on talents we may not have known they possessed. The power of self-authoring for African American boys is that it offers spaces in which they can weave together real and imaginary worlds and people to create spaces in which they are leaders and experts and, in the process, build pathways of resilience. Both of the boys in this study thought of themselves as “smart” or competent science people, but not in the ways we might expect. Their stories challenge us to listen more closely to the ways in which Black boys talk about themselves in relationship to science, peers, schooling, and ideas so that we can leverage the resources they bring to the learning of science. Participating in school science is more than a cognitive endeavor; it is also social and emotional. Science educators must conceive of not only how we might improve the science curriculum, but also the ways in which we facilitate the construction of children’s images of themselves as they engage in this curriculum. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 53: 95–118, 2016.
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