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Student identity & subject choice in secondary school: Comparing A-level physics and modern languages - 13 November 2019

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This presentation develops an initial model of ‘subject identity’ as a conceptual tool for making sense of students’ A-level subject choices at secondary school (ages 16-18). The research focuses on physics and modern languages to offer comparisons between school subjects with similar concerns around social inequality and declining participation at post-compulsory levels.

This study, which conceptualises identity as discursive and socially produced, examines how physics and modern language students negotiate identities through their subject choices. Qualitative data was collected through 20 group interviews involving 67 students and 14 one-on-one interviews with teachers across 5 secondary schools in England. In this presentation, I will explore how physics and modern languages are discursively constructed by students and teachers as well as what subject identities are made possible (or not) though these constructions.

About the speaker

Sandra Takei is a PhD student funded by a Sir Richard Trainor Studentship at King’s College London in partnership with the Institute of Physics (IOP). Her research interests are centred around issues related to science education, educational identities and inequalities in schools and higher education.

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