Integration of the Topic of Social Justice into High School Biology Curricula

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Systemic oppression includes inequitable education that historically does not fully prepare students for comprehensive participation in society. The tools of science education, however, uniquely enable students to explore social inequities as well as the natural world. Thus, a role of education can be to embed social justice in science curricula. Presented here are three case studies that investigate pedagogical methods used by experienced teachers to integrate social justice into upper level high-school biology curricula. Two separate semi-constructed interviews were conducted with participants, along with an analysis of their pedagogical materials. Two main themes are identified and explored: (1) delivery methods (pedagogy) and (2) biological science content. Storytelling and culturally responsive pedagogy were reported to be highly effective in engaging students; using these vehicles for delivery, social justice content can be seamlessly introduced alongside organic evolution. This embedded exploratory multiple-case study serves as an example of how science education can become a tool for student empowerment.

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Science and Education