Dances of meaning making, languaging, doing and repurposing in and with science and its objects

3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
In this paper, we explore ‘signs of learning’ as emergent from elementary children’s multimodal, embodied, enactment of science. We are interested in understanding meaning making, selves and identities in science, in and through dialogue which we take to be polycontextual, multimodal, multivoiced, multiscripted and creative (Vass Littleton, Jones & Miell, 2014). We highlight diverse forms of engagement in science by multilingual children in two contexts – Luxembourg and Montréal. Both cities are marked by immigration which led to transformations of language and education policies that resemble each other in some ways at the surface, while they are simultaneously tangled up in complex ways with local politics and histories of place, making equity driven, social just science education still something to work towards in both cases. Utilizing video data from qualitative case studies we conducted in both contexts, we highlight the complex ways in which children engage in science, which we see as dances of meaning making. These can be read as problematic, off-task and off-script or simply as weak academic forms of engagement. However, we look at them as bids for recognition of deep forms of engagement and meaning making in science, or dances of meaning making. We see them also as bids for recognition as a person who can do science and be in science. Through joint discourse analysis of classroom interactions, we focused on how science and self in science are made through talk and action (Mercer, 2002). We explored how students positioned themselves through their ways of talking and doing in science in both data sets, as well as how they were positioned by others in their interactions. Our collaborative, comparative analysis of data from these two multilingual and highly diverse contexts, highlight the diverse ways multilingual students “do science.” They also attest to the multiple bids for recognition of self as a science learner the same students engaged in over time in each data set. Essentially, our analysis makes evident the value of engaging more deeply with the rich toolkits students bring with them and mobilize as they make making in science and self in science. In doing so, we like to offer a new imaginary of science education that builds on that toolkit and makes transcultural, multimodal and multilanguaging with and in science normative. 
Université de Montréal
Université du Luxembourg

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