Bourdieu, department chairs and the reform of science education

Melville, Wayne, Hardy, Ian and Bartley, Anthony (2011) Bourdieu, department chairs and the reform of science education. International Journal of Science Education, 33 16: 2275-2293. doi:10.1080/09500693.2010.550334

Author Melville, Wayne
Hardy, Ian
Bartley, Anthony
Title Bourdieu, department chairs and the reform of science education
Journal name International Journal of Science Education   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1464-5289
Publication date 2011-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/09500693.2010.550334
Volume 33
Issue 16
Start page 2275
End page 2293
Total pages 19
Place of publication Abingdon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Using the insights of the French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, this article considers the role of the science department chair in the reform of school science education. Using Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’ of ‘field’, ‘habitus’ and ‘capital’, we case study the work of two teachers who both actively pursue the teaching and learning of science as inquiry. One teacher, Dan, has been a department chair since 2000, and has actively encouraged his department to embrace science as inquiry. The other teacher, Leslie, worked for one year in Dan’s department before being transferred to another school where science teaching continues to be more traditional. Our work suggests that there are three crucial considerations for chairs seeking to lead the reform of science teaching within their department. The first of these is the development of a reform‐minded habitus, as this appears to be foundational to the capital that can be expended in the leadership of reform. The second is an understanding of how to wield power and position in the promotion of reform. The third is the capacity to operate simultaneously and strategically within, and across, two fields; the departmental field and the larger science education field. This involves downplaying administrative logics, and foregrounding more inquiry‐focused logics as a vehicle to challenge traditional science‐teaching dispositions—the latter being typically dominated by concerns about curriculum ‘coverage’.
Keyword Inquiry‐based teaching
Department chairs
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online: 21 April 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Education Publications
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Created: Wed, 19 Oct 2011, 08:45:59 EST by Claire Backhouse on behalf of School of Education