Science capital and artistic souls: how the drop-off from science starts

  • XVII IOSTE SYMPOSIUM Science and Technology Education for a P IOSTE


Louise Archer maintains that the school students’ level of “science capital” has a crucial impact on their aspirations (Archer 2014). Science capital is an overall measure of the symbolic resources that affect how school students think about themselves and about science. Archer shows that it consists of four types of resources which children may be “equipped with” when entering adulthood. Firstly, their science literacy, in other words, everything they know about science in general. Secondly, their conviction about their own science competences, in other words, how the students perceive themselves, under the influence of grades and teachers’ opinions. Thirdly, their daily and non-daily practices related to science; here the researchers are referring to visits paid to museums and science centres, participation in science clubs, following science-related news online. Fourthly and lastly, their level of science capital is affected by whom they know, in other words by their personal relations with people who are professionally engaged in science. Children who have a scientist or someone who works in research among their close family are almost twice as likely to have high aspirations in terms of their own future scientific career. It is hard to change the label “I am artistically inclined” (which generally means more or less “I’m not so good at maths” and “I find history tough”) into the thought “I know how to connect the dots between facts pretty well, so I could become a decent scientist one day.”

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