The Border Crossings of a Multicultural Science Education Enthusiast


  • Editor's Note: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Julie A. Luft, Secondary Science Education, 735 Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

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Jill was a preservice science education student who wanted to make science more accessible to all students. This study is an examination of the “borders” she encountered as she completed her student teaching in a cultural setting that was different from her own. Her student teaching experience was documented through interviews, participant observations, field notes, lesson plans, and a journal. An inductive analysis of the documents and a context chart of the coded data revealed that Jill encountered the (a) cultural border of her students, (b) cultural border of science instruction, and (c) cultural border of the school. While some borders were crossed, others were not. This study suggests that during field experiences, preservice teachers may encounter multiple cultural borders, some consistent and some inconsistent with their instructional philosophy. As student teachers work with diverse populations, supervisors and cooperating teachers need to recognize the borders student teachers will encounter and encourage student teachers to examine their beliefs about practice as a means to acknowledge and understand the encountered borders.