Choosing physical science courses: The importance of cultural and social capital in the enrolment decisions of high achieving students

Lyons, Terry (2006) Choosing physical science courses: The importance of cultural and social capital in the enrolment decisions of high achieving students. In Janiuk, Ryszard & Samonek-Miciuk, Elwira (Eds.) Science and Technology Education for a Diverse World: Dilemmas, Needs and Partnerships. Marie Curie-Sklodowska University Press, Lublin, Poland, pp. 369-384.


This paper reports and discusses findings from a recent study which explored the science enrolment decisions of high achieving, or ‘science proficient’ secondary level students in Australia (Lyons 2003). The research was prompted by the increasing reluctance of such students to enrol in postcompulsory science courses, particularly in physics and chemistry. The study investigated the influences on students’ deliberations about taking a range of science courses. However, this report confines itself to decisions about enrolling in the physical sciences. The paper summarises the students’ experiences and conceptions of school science, as well as the characteristics of their ‘family worlds’ found to be influential in their decisions1. The paper discusses the important roles of cultural and social capital in these decisions, and concludes that enrolment in physical science courses was associated with congruence between the students’ conceptions of school science, and characteristics of their family backgrounds.

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ID Code: 92906
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: A proceedings of IOSTE conference.
Keywords: science participation, cultural capital, Bourdieu, social capital, coleman, habitus, family influences, subject choices, HERN
ISBN: 8322724977
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 18 Feb 2016 01:07
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 02:46

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