Science education meets inclusion

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenAufsätze in SammelwerkenForschungbegutachtet


Inclusion is a complex, holistic, multifaceted concept and endeavor, which each person understands differently depending on individual contexts, experiences and beliefs. We, the editors, as science educators and researchers as well as former science teachers concentrate on how to address and respond best to the needs of all learners in a science class and how to educate teachers best to welcome the diversity of their students in scientific learning environments. We are interested in, for example, how to modify science content to be suitable for a diversity of students, how to adapt methods for inclusive science learning, how to create inclusive materials for science classes or how to design inclusive learning environments so that students can learn science in a most appropriate way. Our vision builds on a notion of science education that empowers students and gives them space to feel their own potential, their energy and knowledge and to develop their abilities. Thereby, it is boon and bane at the same time that inclusion is politically enacted. Boon, because many states in the world committed to make their school systems inclusive (cp. United Nations, 2006); bane, because many teachers feel overwhelmed by this top-down enactment. Often, they neither receive the education nor the resources to teach inclusively. Teachers in general and science teachers in particular are challenged to plan lessons for different groups of students taking into consideration that this group is a summed up of individuals with individual skills, knowledge, background, attitudes, beliefs,… Science teachers and educators have been aware of diversity for a long time. However, appropriate and easy available teaching materials as well as evidence-based inclusive approaches are still needed in science education. Projects like described in Markic (2011; 2012) or Abels (2015) show possibilities in this direction. Additionally, with the political enactment in the background, inclusion has been getting more in focus of science education research for the last years. Terms like “heterogeneity”, “diversity”, “integration” and “inclusion” are getting prominent, but hardly easier to deal with so far. Students` individual characteristics and needs are so diverse that they are not only challenging to handle in classrooms, but also in research projects (see e.g., Scruggs and Mastropieri, 2007; Miller, Kostogriz and Gearon, 2009; Mansour and Wegerif, 2013). That is why researchers are looking for simplifications or classifications. One way of representing diversity can be found in the U.S. literature where differences are summarized using eight main dimensions. The so-called “Big 8" is age, gender, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, functional role, and mental/physical ability (Krell, Riedmüller, Sieben and Vinz, 2007). Another common representation employed is the diversity wheel, which is mostly used for productive diversity management in organizations. It distinguishes between internal and external dimensions (Figure 1). The dimensions named above are used in the frame of diversity management; however, they can be also transferred to school context as well. Students’ individual characteristics influence their achievement in science, their a priori knowledge, beliefs, language skills, ways of learning, interests, motivations, etc. (Bohl, Bönsch, Trautmann, and Wischer, 2012). To make the situation even more complicated, teachers, i.e., also science teachers, face an enormous combination of those factors in their classrooms, also within one individual person. Depending on who you ask, the varying dimensions are considered to carry varying levels of importance (Trautmann and Wischer, 2011). Also in the chapters of this book you can see that the authors often focus on one diversity dimension in their projects suggesting evidencebased ways of how to respond to it.

TitelScience Education towards Inclusion
HerausgeberSilvija Markic, Simone Abels
Anzahl der Seiten6
ErscheinungsortNew York
VerlagNova Science Publishers, Inc.
ISBN (Print)978-1-63485-361-3
ISBN (elektronisch)978-1-63485-381-1
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.01.2016
Extern publiziertJa