Cultural diversity in science education through Novelization: Against the Epicization of science and cultural centralization

Authors

  • Michiel van Eijck,

    1. Eindhoven School of Education, Eindhoven University of Technology, Campus TU/e, Gebouw Traverse 3.48, Postbus 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, the Netherlands
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  • Wolff-Michael Roth

    Corresponding author
    1. Applied Cognitive Science University of Victoria, MacLaurin A548, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 3N4
    • Applied Cognitive Science University of Victoria, MacLaurin A548, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 3N4.
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  • Michiel van Eijck and Wolff-Michael Roth contributed equally to this article.

Abstract

Science educators are confronted with the challenge to accommodate in their classes an increasing cultural and linguistic diversity that results from globalization. Challenged by the call to work towards valuing and keeping this diversity in the face of the canonical nature of school science discourse, we propose a new way of thinking about and investigating these problems. Drawing on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, we articulate epicization and novelization as concepts that allow us to understand, respectively, the processes of (a) centralizing and homogenizing culture and language and (b) pluralizing culture and language. We present and analyze three examples that exhibit how existing mundane science education practices tend, by means of epicization, towards a unitary language and to cultural centralization. We then propose novelization as a way for thinking the opening up of science education by interacting with and incorporating alternative forms of knowing that arise from cultural diversity. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 824–847, 2011

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