Autobiostories Promoting Emotional Insights Into the Teaching and Learning of Secondary Science

This work integrates autobiography and story, producing a hybrid narrative called autobiostory. This research interprets gender through the reflective writing process, and aims at understanding intentions within the social context where individuals act, interact, and give meaning to what they think and do. It distinguishes between gender and sex to minimize confusion within these two related but distinct terms. This study focuses on the non-physiological characteristics related to gender. A story that was originally told to the author is transformed into an autobiostory, and the author then uses elements of his own autobiography to interpret and translate the classroom story (in this case, a secondary school science class). The research methods consist of a critical reflection of personal experience that contributes to the construction of gender. Following the autobiostory, interpretations, synthesis, and implications, sections address the research goals and highlight a need to foster middle school environments where children construct gender premised on principles promoting human dignity, care, and respect.


“Through his tellings and interpretations of the autobiostories presented here, Robinson demonstrates the ways that students’ academic learning is tied up with their social, emotional and moral development. These stories, engaging and rich, transcend the secondary science classrooms in which they are situated as Robinson grapples with big issues: science and religion, the ethic of care, gender identity, self-esteem, empathy, racism, and competition. We are challenged to think about our role as teachers in helping our adolescent students grapple with these issues. . . . the lived experiences of an adolescent student are brought into dialogue with the voices of multiple theorists and researchers – and with Robinson himself. As a result, the analyses and interpretations are richly textured and provide multiple insights on living and learning in secondary classrooms.” – Susan Novinger

“Dr. Robinson has opened the door to a more sophisticated vision of the science classroom that recognizes and encourages thoughtful recognition of its ethical and moral responsibilities and opportunities. Through the unique strategy of autobiostories he has infused his study of the science classroom as the setting for clearer understandings of the ways in which students’ gender, race, and religion can influence the learning process and the success of the science classroom.” – Mary Corey

Table of Contents

1. Background: Methodology, Methods, Autobiostories and Interpretations
2. Care and Gender
3. Self-Esteem and Competition
4. Empathy and Racism
5. Science and Religion
6. Implications for Teaching
7. Conclusions
References; Index