New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Learning and Equity in an Undergraduate Kinesiology Classroom

Allison Ritchie, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of University of Toronto (Canada)


Providing all students with a fair opportunity to learn (OTL) is one the most pressing issues facing many scientific researchers and practitioners, given the poor attritions rates of science majors in postsecondary institutions and continued patterns of low achievement of people from marginalized groups. Moving beyond traditional notions of OTL as access to content that will be formally assessed, my study reconceptualises OTL in terms of the micro-, meso-, and macro-level interactions among students and elements of their learning environments. As the increasingly technology-based society shifts toward a more globally-minded ideology, science is a major player in making policy and corporate decisions. These decisions disproportionately affect people from marginalized groups – the very people who are less likely to have equitable opportunities to access quality science education. As such, scientific knowledge serves an important gatekeeping function for academic achievement, postsecondary schooling, and future careers. For these reasons, it is important for science instructors to find equitable ways to distribute OTL. Equity-minded science reforms must tackle questions of what is learned in science classrooms; what counts as learning; and how it is learned? Drawing on sociocultural theories of learning, positioning theory, and New Literacy Studies, my work examines the what it means to be part of an undergraduate Kinesiology classroom; specifically, I consider the OTL available, and the kinds of identities students are encouraged to develop. 

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