“To Learn about Science”: Real Life Scientific Literacy across Multicultural Communities

Adriana Briseno-Garzon, Victoria Purcell-Gates, Kristen Perry


Much of the current research on scientific literacy focuses on particular text genres read by students within the classroom context. We offer a cross-case analysis of literacy as social practice in multicultural communities around the world, through which we reveal that individuals with no formal education at all, as well as people with varied levels of schooling completed, customarily and actively engage in literacy events with the goal of learning about science as part of their everyday lives. We argue that these outcomes substantiate the notion that multiple ways of being scientifically literate actually exist, and that scientific literacy in its most fundamental sense is crucial in science education, despite the fact that the most common definitions and notions of scientific literacy have predominantly considered its derived sense (Norris and Phillips 224).