Research-informed & Negotiated Actions to Address STSE Problems
STEM Actions is an action
research project aimed at documenting,
analyzing & mobilizing teaching
& learning perspectives and
practices that encourage and enable
youth to self-direct 'networked'
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 useful. 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.
EcoJust STEM Actions Pedagogy
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. Our current framework for helping students in this way is outlined below and explained, with examples, here.
Mobilizing EcoJust STEM Actions
In reflecting on our work using the STEPWISE framework, 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: