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Different People in Different Places: Secondary School Students' Knowledge About History of Science

Gandolfi, HE; (2018) Different People in Different Places: Secondary School Students' Knowledge About History of Science. Science and Education , 27 (3-4) pp. 259-297. 10.1007/s11191-018-9971-1. Green open access

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Abstract

This article presents the results of an exploratory study of students’ knowledge about scientists and countries’ contributions to science, aiming at answering two research questions: “In which ways are students aware of the history of scientific development carried out by different people in different places of the world? What can be influencing and shaping their awareness?” Thus, this study aimed at depicting students’ knowledge about History of Science (HOS), focusing on what they know about science being done by people and communities from different parts of the world and on how this knowledge is constructed through their engagement with school science. An exploratory research was carried out at two multicultural state secondary schools in London, UK, involving 200 students aged 12–15 (58.5% girls, 41.5% boys) and five science teachers. The method involved an initial exploration of students’ knowledge about HOS through an open-ended survey, followed by classroom-based observations and semi-structured interviews with the participants. Results showed a disconnection between remembering scientists and knowing about their work and background, hinting at an emphasis on illustrative and decontextualised approaches towards HOS. Additionally, there was a lack of diversity in these students’ answers in terms of gender and ethnicity when talking about scientists and countries in science. These findings were further analysed in relation to their implications for school science and for the fields of HOS, science education and public perception of science.

Type: Article
Title: Different People in Different Places: Secondary School Students' Knowledge About History of Science
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11191-018-9971-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-018-9971-1
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10054285
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