Research-informed & Negotiated Actions to Address STSE Problems
is an action research project aimed at
documenting, analyzing &
mobilizing teaching & learning
perspectives and practices that
encourage and enable youth to
research-informed and negotiated
socio-political actions to address
potential harms they perceive for the
well-being of individuals, societies
&/or environments (WISE) linked to
influences of powerful people and
groups on fields of science &
This project has grown out of the 'STEPWISE' project, which has similar goals, but has a somewhat more structured framework. From the STEPWISE project, we mainly use the teaching/learning framework that teachers have found helpful. Using that schema, students have been able to implement some wonderful research-informed and negotiated socio-political actions. Some of these are shown on the STEPWISE teaching/learning ('pedagogy') page, here. One such student action involved analyses of and research about liquid foundation make-up, which students used as bases for developing this educational video about make-up:
This activist video was, for us, quite wonderful. Students had used 'actor network theory' (ANT) to note that makeup, like other commodities, is part of a much larger network of entities ('actants') - including, at least the following often-ignored actants: miners, manufacturers, labourers, banks, shipping companies, advertizers and, ultimately, disposal companies and landfills. These students did an excellent job educating fellow students and others (e.g., via YouTube™) about such networks - exposing people to actants, such as financiers, advertizers, designers, etc., about which people often are not aware when they buy commodities.
Most students tend to struggle creating research-informed and negotiated actions (RiNA) like that above without having the teacher provide them with lessons and activities aimed at providing students with expertise, confidence and motivation to eventually self-direct such projects. This is explained, with reference to students'/citizens' concerns about harms to wellbeing of individuals, societies and environments associated with influences of powerful people and groups on fields of science and technology (and, likely, engineering & mathematics) below:
The CASE pedagogy above is elaborated, with examples, here.
A teacher in the Peel District School Board, Mr. Dave Del Gobbo, has been using this framework for a couple of years, and students in his class have developed many effective actions to address problematic STSE relationships. Dave provides examples HERE of three fundamental aspects of the CASE/STEPWISE pedagogy; that is, students' secondary research about an STSE relationship; students' primary research to learn more about this relationship; and, based on their research and other influences, actions students take to address problems perceived by them.
Mobilizing 'Critical & Activist Science Education'
In reflecting on our work using the STEPWISE framework since 2006, among many conclusions, we have decided that principles of actor network are very helpful - perhaps essential - in terms of promotion of WISE/ecojustice goals in many science/STEM education contexts. We have concluded that networks are important, at least, for students' work in educational contexts and for helping us to 'mobilize' (distribute across many educational contexts) CASE perspectives and practices. In this light, we are interested in working with a great variety of people who may help implement CASE in various educational contexts, including (in no particular order): teachers, students, consultants, principals, government officials, school district officials, etc. If you are interested in joining working with us in any of the roles, please send a message to me at: email@example.com . To help with your decision to join us, perhaps you might find the attached invitational flyer helpful: here.