Celebrating Australia’s diversity through science education

Fitzgerald, Angela and Pfeiffer, Linda and Woolcott, Geoff (2018) Celebrating Australia’s diversity through science education. In: Teaching secondary science: theory and practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 191-213. ISBN 978-1-316-63611-4




After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
• consider what diversity might look like in Australian classrooms and why inclusive practices matter in terms of quality science learning and teaching
• understand how inclusive practices can foster the different ways of knowing science for students with diverse cultural backgrounds
• recognise the role of inclusive practices in supporting students with disabilities in learning science
• demonstrate an awareness of how inclusive practices enable students of differing socioeconomic statuses to access science education
• highlight the impact of inclusive practices on providing science learning opportunities for students living in different geographic locations.


As a term, diversity can mean a variety of things to different people. In this chapter, we intend to draw on a holistic view of diversity. Cultural diversity and disability are commonly focused on when we consider the notion of diversity and are very important differences to acknowledge and address in our classrooms. Diversity, however, is evident in many more ways than just these two areas. In its broadest sense, diversity is about embracing all human differences and as a concept encompasses acceptance and respect. By defining diversity in this way, we hope to support you – future secondary school teachers – in thinking about how to embrace and celebrate your students’ diversities in safe, positive and nurturing ways. For the purposes of this chapter, we have chosen to focus on four main areas: cultural background, disability, socioeconomic status (SES) and geographic location (rural, remote and metropolitan). The rural, remote and metropolitan area (RRMA) classification was developed nationally by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2004), and is still used by the Department of Health when defining geographic location in Australia, with metropolitan locations including capital cities and other urban centres (population greater than 100 000), rural, including large rural centres (population of 25 000 – 99 999), small rural centres (population of 10 000 – 24 999) and other rural centres (population of less than 10 000), and remote centres (population greater than 4999) and other remote areas (with the population of less than 5000).

While we acknowledge that a range of other differences have a presence in schools, we believe that these four areas of diversity, cultural background, disability, socioeconomic status and geographic location, may be ones that you will come across most commonly in secondary school classrooms.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published Chapter, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 03:06
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 03:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: science education; diversity
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316882535.011
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35134

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