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Research

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Reveles, J.M., Cordova, R., & Kelly, G. J. (2004). Science Literacy and Academic Identity Formulation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 1111-1144.

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to report findings from an ethnographic study that focused on the co-development of science literacy and academic identity formulation within a third-grade classroom. Our theoretical framework draws from sociocultural theory and studies of scientific literacy. Through analysis of classroom discourse, we identified opportunities afforded students to learn specific scientific knowledge and practices during a series of science investigations. The results of this study suggest that the collective practice of the scientific conversations and activities that took place within this classroom enabled students to engage in the construction of communal science knowledge through multiple textual forms. By examining the ways in which students contributed to the construction of scientific understanding, and then by examining their performances within and across events, we present evidence of the co- development of students’ academic identities and scientific literacy. Students’ communication and participation in science during the investigations enabled them to learn the structure of the discipline by identifying and engaging in scientific activities. The intersection of academic identities with the development of scientific literacy provides a basis for considering specific ways to achieve scientific literacy for all students. 

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Brown, B. A., Reveles, J.M., & Kelly, G.J. (2005) Scientific Literacy and Discursive Identity: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Science. Science Education, 89: 779-802.

Abstract

In this paper we propose the construct of discursive identity as a way to examine student discourse. We drew from the work of Gee (2001, Review of Research in Education, 25, 99 – 125) and Nasir and Saxe (2003, Educational Researcher, 32(5), 14 – 18) to consider the multiple contexts and developmental timescales of student discursive identity development. We argue that theories of scientific literacy need to consider the sociocultural contexts of language use in order to examine fully affiliation and alienation associated with appropriation of scientific discourse. As an illustrative case, we apply discursive identity to series of short exchanges in a fifth-grade classroom of African-American students. The discussion examines potential co-construction of student identity and scientific literacy.

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