East Asia

Positionings of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minority students in high school biology class: Implications for science education in diverse classrooms

Minjung Ryu

In the present study, I analyze ethnographic data from a year-long study of two Advanced Placement (AP) Biology classes that enrolled students with diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. Specifically, I consider participation, positioning, and learning of newcomer Korean students in the focal classes. Building on the notion of figured worlds, I define the AP Biology classes as a localized figured world in which students position and are positioned within its interpretive frameworks and analyze how newcomer Koreans are positioned in relation to each other. The analysis illustrates that students were relationally positioned, primarily based on their biology achievement and discursive participation, among other interpretive frameworks. In this localized figured world, newcomer Korean students were positioned at a lower status because they did not participate in the classroom discourses, as well as their lack of speech and certain forms of speech indicated their failure to adequately learn English and U.S. school practices. Based on the findings, I discuss practices and ideologies about science, classroom participation, and transnational students that are prevalent in broader contexts and reflected in the localized figured world. In light of the national and international contexts in which increasingly more people migrate across national borders, I draw implications for science education in racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse classrooms.

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The effects of the medium of instruction in certificate-level physics on achievement and motivation to learn

Dennis Fung and Valerie Yip

A 3-year study was launched in a Hong Kong secondary school to investigate the effects of the medium of instruction (MOI), specifically English and Chinese, on the learning of certificate-level physics. A total of 199 Secondary Four (S4 or tenth-grade) students, divided into three major ability groups, participated in a teaching intervention designed to determine the effects of MOI on their learning achievement and motivation. The results of conceptual assessments and physics examinations revealed Chinese to be a superior MOI in enabling low-ability students to attain a higher level of achievement, whereas English was more suitable for their high-achieving counterparts. However, little conclusive evidence regarding the role of MOI for the medium-ability groups was found. A questionnaire-based survey indicated that students were more motivated to learn physics through Chinese as the MOI (CMI) rather than English (EMI), although significant limitations to its use were identified for the topic of “Heat.” Deficiencies in the vocabulary needed for abstract scientific concepts in Chinese may account for these limitations (for instance, Chinese uses the same word, “re”, for both “heat” and “hot”). Finally, follow-up interviews at the end of the study revealed a sharp contrast between the learning prospects of EMI and CMI students.

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Establishing a school-based drama programme: supporting non-specialists to plan and teach a drama programme

Josh Wong

Drama in schools came to prominence in Singapore in 2005 when the Minister of Education announced that drama could be offered as a formal curriculum subject and, subsequently, as a means of teaching and learning English Language. Since then, a number of schools have initiated their own school-based drama programmes. However, many schools in Singapore do not have teachers formally trained in drama or drama education.

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Reconstructing the public in old and new governance: A Korean case of nuclear energy policy

Hyomin Kim

Korean nuclear energy regulatory policies started to change from earlier exclusively technocratic policies into open dialogues after several anti-nuclear protests in the 1990s. However, technocratic policies still coexist with the new regulatory orientation towards openness, participation and institutional accountability. This paper analyzes Korean nuclear regulatory policies since approximately 2005 as a blend of old and new governance. The aim of the paper is not to decide whether new nuclear governance is deliberative or not by completely reviewing Korean nuclear policies after the 2000s. Instead, it provides an empirical account of how seemingly more participatory processes in decision-making entail new problems while they work with and reproduce social assumptions of different groups of the public.

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