Teaching science in a poor urban school in pakistan: Tensions in the life history of a female elementary teacher


  • This research presented in this paper was funded by the Spencer Foundation and is acknowledged with gratitude. The ideas expressed in the paper are opinions and the sole responsibilities of the authors and not those of the Spencer Foundation.


In this paper, we draw from a narrative life history approach to report in depth on the experiences of one teacher, Shagufta, in a high-poverty urban elementary school in Lahore, Pakistan. The purpose of reporting Shagufta's story is twofold. First, we want to make sense of her role as a science teacher—what should the children in her school learn in science, and why, if these children are expected by Pakistani society to leave formal education before the eighth grade? Second, what core tensions mark Shagufta's story as she has tried to craft her science teaching practice? © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed89:725–743, 2005