New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

A Pedagogical Pathway to Enhance Science Identity in Disadvantaged Males

Veronica McCauley, National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland)

Colin Tierney, National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland)

Paul Flynn, National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland)


This research considers the multifaceted role that science can play in supporting males from socio-economic disadvantage communities to progress to higher education. School students from disadvantaged communities have been shown to perform worse on achievement tests in science than other school cohorts. This can result in male students from underrepresented groups not seeing themselves as capable in the subject or possessing the traits of what it means to be a scientist. Further, in Irish post-secondary schools, although the national uptake in senior Biology is 2:1, females:males; in socio-economic disadvantaged communities this accelerates to 3:1 respectively.  Intersecting literature suggests that increasing student science identity may interrupt this pattern. Thus, this paper considers three interconnected pedagogical strategies to support enhancing male science identify, from disadvantaged communites, with Biology: integrated teaching, inquiry, and free choice learning. These initial steps in developing a conceptual framework and through dialogue with the field, will lay the foundations for the development of actionable knowledge. This is particularly poignant, considering the global challenges highlighted in recent legislation relating to Climate Action, which relies on scientific and technological innovations, and an engaged public willing to do their part.

Keywords: Science education, science identity, disadvantaged communities, pedagogical innovation


1. Department of Education and Skills (DES). (2016). Stem education in the Irish school system – analysis and recommendations.

2. Archer, L., Moote, J., MacLeod, E., Francis, B., & DeWitt, J. (2020). ASPIRES 2: Young people’s science and career aspirations, age 10-19. London: UCL Institute of Education.

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