SED: Science Education for Diversity

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SED seeks to improve the quality of science education in Europe by collaborating with other countries where science and science careers are perceived by young people as a positive option.

The aim is to understand how countries in both Europe (England/Netherlands) and the partner countries of India, Turkey, Lebanon and Malaysia are addressing the issue of gender and cultural diversity in regard to engaging young people in science education.

SED focuses on ways to help address this issue more effectively and to understand the relationship between science education and culture.

Over a three-year period, the project intends to provide guidelines and programmes for effective interventions to improve the take-up of science education.

SED explores the complex relationship between different ethnically and culturally defined groups, gender, and different areas of science and the variety of approaches to teaching and learning science.

Some of the questions addressed by the project look at how teachers perceive the issues, the factors that affect students’ opting for science, the educational policies in each of the partner countries to address diversity issues in science education, and, what constitutes a 'successful' policy or practice.

Basic information

Country: Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, Other

Coordinator: University of Exeter, UK, www.exeter.ac.uk

Programme: FP7

Project Acronym:

Target groups: teachers, trainee teachers

Topic: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Technology, Education

Start year: 2010

End year: 2012

Url: http://www.science-education-for-diversity.eu

Contact person: Dr Andrew Dean, a.dean (at) exeter.ac.uk

The main research questions addressed by this project are:

  • Is there a differential take-up of science education based on ethnicity, religion and gender in each of the partner countries?
  • To what extent do different branches of science present different demographic profiles?
  • What factors affect the differential take-up?

The research is carried out amongst both students and teachers, aiming to answer the following questions:

  • How do teachers perceive the issue(s)?
  • What are the educational policies in each of the countries to address diversity issues in science education?
  • What would constitute a 'successful' policy or practice and how would this be evaluated? What policies currently in place can be seen as successful according to such criteria, and which ones can be seen to have failed?

The research results will be available at a later stage.

SED activities focus on working with school students in the different countries to explore the cultural patterns at play in science classrooms and the inherent variety of worldviews among students, and to understand how these impact on the teaching and learning of science. Also, SED explores the science teaching methods used in the partner countries to promote science to diverse students and to attract them to take up careers in science.

Some of the practical outcomes for teachers and students are:

  • a framework for a science curriculum taking cultural diversity into account
  • a guide for science teachers to teach culturally diverse students
  • a suggestion of activities to engage science teachers in teaching science to culturally diverse students
  • a science careers activity for schools

The resources will be available at a later stage.

 

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