What Do Refugee Mothers Want in Urban US School Science: Learning from the Perceptions of Science of Three Somali Mothers

Nancy Albrecht, Bhaskar Upadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines the perceptions of three Somali mothers on science, science topics taught in urban US schools and the challenges that they encountered in dealing with science and their own social and cultural practices. The article focuses on Somali mothers, who were highly interested in articulating how science and science professions could be a path to both the personal and community successes and how science could positively affect Somali girls in the areas of women’s health. As an exploratory case study research, we used grounded theory approach to understand Somali mothers’ perceptions of science. We interviewed the mothers over a year and analyzed data as an iterative and systematic process. The findings of the study show that the Somali mothers perceived science from everyday usefulness points of view rather than science knowledge alone, thus home-science connections were critical to them as Somali mothers. They perceived science as an empowering tool for girls so they could make important decisions about women’s reproductive health issues. A broader implication of this study could be for urban science teachers and educators to modify their science instructional and curricular decisions so science learning is connected to Somali students’ culture and empowers girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-629
Number of pages26
JournalUrban Review
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • Empowering science
  • Immigrants
  • Mothers
  • Science education
  • Sociocultural
  • Somali

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