Science education for empowerment and social change: A case study of a teacher educator in urban Pakistan

Rubina Zahur, Angela Calabrese Barton, Bhaskar Raj Upadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this manuscript we focus on the question, 'What should be the purpose of science education for children of the very poor class in caste-oriented developing countries such as Pakistan?' In other words, in a country where the literacy rate hovers around 10 per cent for the poorest segment of society and where there is no expectation that children will complete primary school, of what importance is primary science education and to what end should it be offered in schools? We begin a conversation around this question by presenting, in this manuscript, a case study of one teacher educator whose beliefs and practices sharply deviate from the norm - she believes science education ought to be about empowering students to make physical and political changes in their community. In particular, using the rich, contextual interview and observational data generated through case study, we show how Haleema's (pseudonym) orientation to science teacher education are buttressed by three fundamental beliefs: that low levels of literacy and school achievement among poor children have as much to do with poor families' lack of power/influence on the purposes and processes of schooling as it has to do with opportunities and resources; that school science can begin to address inequalities in power by fostering a kind of scientific literacy among children that leads to individual and community empowerment around health and environmental issues, the very science-related issues that divide quality of life and opportunity for poor families; and that teacher education programmes can play a role in transforming a society's views about how science and scientific practices might play a role in bringing communities together to effect change for the better.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-917
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Science education for empowerment and social change: A case study of a teacher educator in urban Pakistan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this