Becoming an Expert: Critical Engagement with Science and the Community

Edna Tan, Angela Calabrese Barton, Erin E. Turner and Maura Varley Gutiérrez

in Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Schools

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780226037974
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226037998 | DOI:
Becoming an Expert: Critical Engagement with Science and the Community

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The purpose of this chapter is to delve into how youth practice their content knowledge expertise and their agency in a community setting. It helps to rethink the connections between learning, critical engagement with math and science, and agency. The idea that identity work involves the participation of others and the social worlds they inhabit signals how youth may grapple with the sociohistorical and cultural politics that motivate identity work and frame participation within and across figured worlds. The culturally situated approach to agency suggests that how individuals value activity depends, in part, upon the purposes and goals of that activity, its relationship to local knowledge and resources, and the relative positions of power of the agents within that setting. The agency with and in science involves a critical awareness of the role science plays in the world and a critical awareness of the world itself, alongside understandings of scientific ideas and ways of thinking that can be used toward making a difference in the world. The vignette reveals how youth take seriously their commitment to developing and sharing an understanding of the urban heat island effect and its impact on human and environmental health and global sustainability.

Keywords: agency; science; cultural politics; global sustainability; math

Chapter.  13385 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Schools Studies

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