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Med kroppen som insats: Diskursiva spänningsfält i biologiundervisningen på högstadiet
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
The Body at Stake : Discursive Tensions in Secondary School Biology Teaching (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis takes its departure in 15-year-old students’ learning about the human body. During a semester I followed most of the sciences taught in one class of grade 9 students. I have chosen to illustrate lessons and analyse using the influence of feminists perspectives different situated actions in this science classroom practice, thereby raising a number of didactic questions focusing on the limits and possibilities of school science teaching. With the help of different analytic tools I have made close readings of transcribed situations presented in four studies.

The results show ways in which science content becomes relevant to students’ experiences, but also how students’ unique voices may shift focus from the expected science content. Overall, the results show how some discursive performances that are often taken for granted in science education are filled with explicit and implicit norms about how things should be for example in relation to femininity and masculinity. These performances may affect how students come to regard themselves and the world around them. However, the results also point out opportunities for changing these discursive performances. One way of doing this, which emerges from my results, is to create possibilities for acts in situations of equal subject positions, where different kinds of positions are welcomed. This is an approach where the content of science education involves and transforms the experiences of students’ social lives, where students’ actions in encounters with the differences are regarded as an important part of meaning making. Therefore, I suggest that ongoing negotiations in teaching should be taken into account, be regarded as a significant part of the learning processes and, through this, open up new possibilities of widening what kind of meaning making becomes available for the students. This, in turn, may create a space with unimagined ethical opportunities by paying attention to disparities, i.e. to others who may act from a different logic than we are used to, in other words: welcoming and involving differences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik, Stockholms universitet , 2011. , 96 p.
Keyword [en]
Science education, human body, basic facts, reproduction, values, meaning making, situated acts, bodily experiences, transactional bodies, gender, masculinity, femininity, images, relational, inclusion, exclusion, displacement, tension, embodiment, discourse
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55948ISBN: 978-91-7447-258-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-55948DiVA: diva2:407686
Public defence
2011-05-20, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Papers 2, 3 and 4: Manuscripts.Available from: 2011-04-28 Created: 2011-03-31 Last updated: 2011-05-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Bodily experiences in secondary school biology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bodily experiences in secondary school biology
2011 (English)In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1510, Vol. 6, no 3, 569-594 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This is a study of teaching about the human body. It is based on transcribed material from interviews with 15-year old students and teachers about their experiences of sex education and from recordings of classroom interactions during a dissection. The analysis is focused on the relationship between what students are supposed to learn about the biological body and their expressed experiences and meaning making of bodies in the schoolwork. The results indicate that the negotiations associated with the encounters between the bodies of the classroom (student, teacher, and animal bodies) are important for what directions meaning making takes and what students are afforded to learn about bodies, biologically as well as in terms of values. We suggest that these negotiations should be taken into account at schools, be regarded as an important part of the learning processes in science education and in that way open up for new possibilities for students’ meaning making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2011
Keyword
Transaction, human body, values, aesthetics, bodily experiences, meaning making
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43001 (URN)10.1007/s11422-010-9292-4 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-09-23 Created: 2010-09-23 Last updated: 2011-10-21Bibliographically approved
2. “What if we were in a test tube”: Students' gendered meaning making during a biology lesson about the basic facts of the human genitals.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“What if we were in a test tube”: Students' gendered meaning making during a biology lesson about the basic facts of the human genitals.
2012 (English)In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1502Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores what happens in the encounters between presentations of ‘‘basic facts’’ about the human genitals and 15-year-old students during a biology lesson ina Swedish secondary school. In this paper, meaning making was approached as relational,context-dependent and continually transacted. For this reason the analysis was conductedthrough a series of close readings of situations where students interacted with each otherand the teacher in opening up gaps about alternative ways of discussing gender. Drawing on Foucault’s theories about the inclusion and exclusion of knowledge and the subsequent work of Butler and other feminist researchers, the paper illuminates what gendered relationsremain tacit in the conversation. It then illustrates possible ways in which these tacit gendered meanings could be made overt and discussed with the students when making meaning about the human genitals. The paper also shows how the ways in which human genitals are transacted in the science classroom have importance for what kind of learning is made available to the students.

Keyword
Sex education, biology, transaction, discourse, gender
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55964 (URN)10.1007/s11422-012-9430-2 (DOI)
Note

OnLine First

Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2013-01-07Bibliographically approved
3. Becoming a man and a woman in secondary school practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming a man and a woman in secondary school practice
2015 (English)In: Nordic Studies in Education, ISSN 1891-5914, E-ISSN 1891-5949, no 3, 233-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article illuminates the significance of images of femininity and masculinity in everyday school practice. Specifically, we examine role-plays concerning inter-relational dilemmas performed by 15-year-old students as a part of their work regarding the human body in science education. The results showed that the portrayal of girls, homosexuals and others who do not fit the masculine norm were presented as fragmentary in comparison with the characterisations of heterosexual boys. The images were reflections of boys’ actions and feelings. Our purpose is to discuss the possibilities that exist in order to re-symbolise and re-imagine femininity and masculinity. 

Keyword
Masculinity, femininity, images, relational, embodiment, human body, science education
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55965 (URN)
Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2015-12-23Bibliographically approved
4. It’s her body: When students’ argumentation shows displacement of content in science classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>It’s her body: When students’ argumentation shows displacement of content in science classroom
2012 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 42, no 6, 1121-1145 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper approaches learning as a response instead of the acquisition of something previously expected. More specifically, it describes a process of argumentation on socioscientific issues in a classroom situation in school science amongst 15-year-old students in Sweden. The analysis of an argumentation on abortion in a science classroom highlights how science content becomes relevant to students’ experiences, but also how the students’ unique voices shift focus and cause displacement of the science content. The analysis demonstrates some of the tensions and possible conflicts that may lead to the exclusion of different voices. This paper argues that focusing the research or education on questions that argumentation brings to light creates interesting educational opportunities to identify and incorporate the students’ experiences in the classroom. The results indicate, however, that students’ spontaneous acts lead to some difficulties in finding a point of contact with the rational discourse of science education.

This article approaches learning as a response to something. It illustrates what happens when the voices of the rational discourse of science education meet the voices of the unexpected. More specifically, it describes a process of argumentation on socio-scientific issues in a classroom situation in school science among 15-year-old students in Sweden. The analysis of an argumentation on abortion in the science classroom highlights the deliberative educational questions present, and identifies occasions where students’ unique voices and displacement of content are welcomed. The analysis also demonstrates tensions and possible collisions that may lead to the exclusion of different voices. This paper argues that focusing on the deliberative educational questions in research and education on argumentation creates interesting educational opportunities to meet the unexpected. The results indicate, however, that students' spontaneous acts lead to some difficulties in finding a point of contact with the rational discourse of science education.

Keyword
Argumentation, displacement, conflict of interest, continuity, science education, tension
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55966 (URN)10.1007/s11165-011-9237-2 (DOI)000310540600005 ()
Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2012-12-12Bibliographically approved

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