World Would Move Ahead!’: Exploring the Learning of Science and Aspirations in the Urban Context Through a Case Study

Indumathi Sundararaman | 2020


Through a case study of a girl student, this paper attempts to draw linkages between science classroom, gender and the larger discourse on the economy and job market. The ideal science student is constructed through classroom interactions, and a particular ideal is fostered which is highlighted in this paper. This paper sets itself to locate the micro-processes such as the classroom interactions, pedagogy and textbooks in the larger macro-context of economy, social mobility and jobs. It draws from the critiques of meritocracy and neoliberal ideology to present the arguments. Through an ethnographic approach, the study focuses on the experiences of students in science classrooms. The school chosen is located in an urban context in India. Examples from the classroom interactions and discussions with the students reveal how certain kind of conduct is promoted in the classroom. Through the description of dreams and aspirations and notions of science and scientists of a girl student, this paper argues that the learning of science is situated in the context of globalisation and neoliberal ideology. The classrooms, pedagogy and notion of aspirations and mobility seem to foster this economic discourse. This paper points to the fact that there is a need for alternative approaches in the teaching of science.