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Keywords:

  • urban education;
  • sociocultural issues;
  • social justice;
  • middle school science

Abstract

This study describes the resources and strategies middle school teachers, urban fellows, and a district science staff developer coactivated to resist the marginalization of science in a high-poverty, low-performing urban school. Through critical narrative inquiry, I document factors that marginalized science in three teachers' classrooms. The narratives show that constraints related to cultural, material, and social resources contributed to a more global symbolic resource constraint, the low status and priority of science in the school. The narratives develop a new category of strategic resources embodied or controlled by others and leveraged to improve students' opportunities to learn science. Attention to a broader array of resources, including social, symbolic, and strategic resources, helps to excavate some of the inertial forces that might derail efforts to teach for social justice. The findings provide a sense of how and why teachers might activate resources to resist the marginalization of science in their classrooms. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:840–860, 2010