Council on Anthropology and Education
Oral Presentation Session
In the last decade, considerable research examined the construct of identity as consequential to the process of learning. Studies in science education demonstrate that access to variable practices, resources, and opportunities in learning settings are chiefly connected to how learners are recognized and positioned. For instance, positioning students in deficit terms has shown to be consequential, not only during moment-to-moment learning processes but also in students’ long-term academic trajectories. In this study, we define identity constructions of learners as fluid, relational, and social process tied to group perceptions, repertoires of participation (performance and competence), and access to differential positioning (access to roles, positions, and practices). To this end, we utilize video, observational, and interview data collected in middle school science classrooms and during summer science programs for over an academic year to examine how differential positionings and access to various repertoires of participation afforded to emergent bilingual students resulted in the most and least opportunities to learn and their identification with science discipline. Our findings demonstrate that strength and resource-based positionings not only allowed students to engage in science learning in meaningful ways but also supported their developing academic identities as science persons.