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Centre for Research in STEM Education (CRISTEME) - Centre Meeting

Regular centre meeting for staff and students (all welcome)

Event details

Science participation: is it more important to be studious than ‘science-y’?

Presenter: Dr Lucy Yeomans

Patterns of post-16 science participation in the United Kingdom show an under-representation of those from White British working-class (WBWC) backgrounds. This presentation reports on qualitative data from a doctoral study of the out-of-school science engagement and educational choice-making of WBWC students (N=12) aged 15/16 and their parents (N=12). These data were contextualised using longitudinal interviews with the same respondents (age 10-14), and survey data from over 1000 White working-class respondents collected through a large-scale research project. Interviews were analysed using Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, habitus and field to identify potential mechanisms generating their tendency not to continue with post-compulsory science education.

I will discuss how social class, ethnicity and gender interact to form a ‘matrix of domination’, whereby WBWC students who had described themselves as ‘sciencey’ and engaged with out-of-school science activities early on did not continue with science, while the few who considered themselves to be academically able in science –and in some cases didn’t extensively engage with science out-of-school – tended to choose post-16 science options.