Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/22522
Title: 
Authors: 
Subjects: 
Apprenticeship
Power
Power relationships
Chemical synthesis
Science laboratory
Issue Date: 
2020
Citation: 
Teo, T. W., & Tan, Y. L. K. (2020). Examining power, knowledge and power relations in a science research apprenticeship. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 15, 659–677. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09936-9
Abstract: 
The science laboratory is a politically entrenched space where complex power relations interplay while social agents learn about the rules and routines to ensure safety, precision and reproducibility in research work. This paper presents a case study of two Singaporean students undergoing apprenticeship in a 3-year school-based School Scientist Programme. They engaged in an open and authentic science inquiry involving chemical synthesis in the school’s science laboratory under the apprenticeship of an in-house School Scientist who started the programme. The goals of this paper are to offer an alternative—critical and nuanced—lens to the dominant positivist and social constructivist discourse about science research apprenticeship. Using visual ethnography approach, we collected videos and photographs of the students’ and School Scientist’s interactions during the science research over the first 18 months of the programme. The study documented critical events that showed shifts in control over knowledge construction and mastery of the chemical synthesis craft as the science research progressed. This paper contributes to the Foucauldian theory of power in offering an alternative view to the dialectical explanation of power and knowledge. First, it shows that while there is an overall gain in knowledge of chemical synthesis increased during the apprenticeship, the power relationship fluctuates when a different genre of chemical synthesis work was introduced. The fluctuation is related to the overtaking and relinquishing of control (power) with the latter leading to the construction of knowledge. Second, we show how the power relationship, involving the interplay of power and knowledge between the expert and apprentice, is more interconnected and complex. The findings of this study have implications for teachers who want to plan and enact authentic science inquiry with their students.
Description: 
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Cultural Studies of Science Education. The published version is available online at https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09936-9
URI: 
ISSN: 
1871-1502 (print)
1871-1510 (online)
DOI: 
Project number: 
SUG33/12TTW
Grant ID: 
Planning Grant
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
File Permission: 
Open
File Availability: 
With file
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