Article

The Inadequacies of “Science for All” and the necessity and nature of a socially transformative curriculum approach for African American science education

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Abstract

“Science for All” is a mantra that has guided science education reform and practice for the past 20 years or so. Unfortunately, after 20 years of “Science for All” guided policy, research, professional development, and curricula African Americans continue to participate in the scientific enterprise in numbers that are staggeringly low. What is more, if current reform efforts were to realize the goal of “Science for All,” it remains uncertain that African American students would be well-served. This article challenges the idea that the type of science education advocated under the “Science for All” movement is good for African American students. It argues that African American students are uniquely situated historically and socially and would benefit greatly from a socially transformative approach to science education curricula designed to help them meet their unique sociohistorical needs. The article compares the curriculum approach presented by current reform against a socially transformative curriculum approach. It concludes with a description of research that could support the curricular approach advocated. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 301–316, 2011

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... Murrell (2012) work suggested the integration of the historical, cultural, political, and developmental considerations of the African American experience into a unified system of instruction, bringing to light those practices that already exist and linking them to contemporary ideas and innovations that concern effective practice in Black communities. Considering the histories and motivations of science education, for Black people is not only a learning experience, but also one of survival and liberation, linked to Afrofuturistic possibilities of living (Mutegi 2011). ...
... These following findings within this study focus on Monica's interpretations of the Black students' engagement with science. We believe there are two prerequisites for Black students to be liberated in science education: (1) re-framing and dismantling of deficit depictions and beliefs of Black people and their children (Martin 2010) and (2) understanding that the histories and contemporary experiences of Black people in the USA and much of the African Diaspora have not liberating for Black people (Mutegi 2011), which challenges Black scholars to not define Black liberations without using Whiteness as the measure (Ridgeway and McGee 2018). For doing so would be reifying the systems and structures we are trying to destroy. ...
... This in turn influenced their actions and ethos when engaging in other activities outside of school. Just as scholarship has described how students' lived experiences and home life can influence their learning in school (Mutegi 2011), the inverse is true and the over controlled learning environments impact students. ...
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Article
The contributions, participation, and exploitation of Black people within science and science education are devalued within the cannon of science teaching and learning. This in part is due to the Eurocentric nature of science and education. As a result, Black youth participate in science regularly; however, it is overlooked, not recognized, and/or misinterpreted within formal learning experiences. In this qualitative case study, the authors address this tension through the oral traditions of storytelling which historicize Black excellence in science while centering the voices and engagement of youth as scientists. This work is guided by critical race theory as a means of critiquing science education and its practices. While presenting a counter-narrative to mainstream science descriptions of Black youth, the authors posit the role of liberatory science education for Black learners.
... African-American girls are often steered away from rigorous mathematics and science courses (Walker 2007). They are also often tracked into lower-level classrooms where access to critical thinking, engagement, and relevance is limited or nonexistent (Tate and Rousseau 2002), and they are often excluded from learning experiences that make vital connections between the content and their values, priorities, abilities, culture, and lived experiences (Mutegi 2011). Additionally, who they are as African-American girls is not valued, and their intellects are often viewed through a deficit lens (Martin 2012). ...
... We believe that the design of educational programs, both formal and informal, plays an important role in the success of African-American students in math and science. Implementing a curriculum approach that values and affirms the experiences of students of color in relation to learning is essential (Mutegi 2011). Critical theorists, such as Paulo Freire, have long argued against educational systems that fail to prepare people to solve their problems (Foley, Morris, Gounari and Agostinone-Wilson 2015). ...
... Critical theorists, such as Paulo Freire, have long argued against educational systems that fail to prepare people to solve their problems (Foley, Morris, Gounari and Agostinone-Wilson 2015). Additionally, Jomo Mutegi (2011) argues that science should be taught through a socially transformative curriculum that positions African-American students to critically evaluate modern Western science while acquiring five types of mastery: content, currency, context, critique, and conduct. ...
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Article
This article describes a summer enrichment science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) camp for African-American girls and young women aimed at addressing mathematical and science self-efficacy and reinforcing the importance and usefulness of mathematics and science with a socially transformative curriculum. The research questions guiding this study are (1) How do African-American girl participants describe their experiences in Girls STEM Institute (GSI)? and (2) How does the STEM program experience affect their mathematics and science self-efficacy and valuing of mathematics and science? The data, which included journal entries and interviews, were collected and analyzed from four participants and indicated that participating in the Girls STEM Institute led to improved mathematics and science self-efficacy and increased perceptions of the value of science and math knowledge.
... It is well documented that this skepticism is also propagated by a culture of elitism and exclusivity that has historically functioned to exclude and marginalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities (Medin & Bang, 2014;Settlage et al., 2018). Issues of White supremacy, a racialized and colonial history of science, and continued marginalization of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities in the sciences and healthcare system have been called into question once again (Morales-Doyle, 2019; Mutegi, 2011;Rosa & Mensah, 2016). Following the Black Lives Matter movement, thousands of scientists went on strike worldwide, condemning enduring racism in STEM fields under the banner hashtag, "ShutDownStem" (#Shut-DownSTEM). ...
... The glaring absence of research with and for minoritized populations in science and technology is merely an extension of the rhetoric of science for all-being a dream shelved and gatekept by science education power brokers (Rivera Maulucci, 2010). This is visible with the persistent racialized disparities and inequitable and historical exclusion of minoritized populations in science education, science teaching and learning, and participation in science and STEM domains broadly (Mutegi, 2011;Rangel et al., 2020). These inequities and lack of representation manifest as schooling that is disconnected from the lived experiences and interests of urban students of color (King & Pringle, 2018) that overlooks and discounts students of color as capable of excellence and high achievement despite dominant practices and narratives falsely positioning them as deficit (Sheth, 2018). ...
... Consequently, we identified six core dimensions that are at the core of how technologies are implemented and enacted in the science education context. To ground our discussion of equitable, social justice criticality (which follows in the ensuing sections), we present a brief discussion of each dimension (for a detailed presentation of each dimension, please see Waight & Abd-El-Khalick, 2012, 2011. ...
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Article
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the rapid emergence of vaccines, the dual benefits of both science and technology have been lauded, while dominant, deficit-based narratives of vaccine hesitancy and mistrust in science and medicine by the general public, particularly minoritized populations, run rampant. In this paper, we argue for a counternarrative, where instead of erroneously positioning communities of color as the problem, the problem is reframed to consider what the scientific, technological, and science education communities need to do to become more trustworthy and transgress the persistent shortcomings related to racism and injustice. Specifically, in this position paper, we (a) discuss the interactions of science, technology, and society from the perspective of the nature of technology; (b) engage an understanding of how bias, access, and racism operate in and at the intersection of science, technology, and technological systems; (c) discuss implications of these ideas in science education; and finally (d) pose recommendations to counter alienation and racism with an emphasis on a sixth dimension, equitable, social justice criticality, for science-technology education. In conclusion, we make recommendations by centering a more equitable, social justice criticality of science and technology.
... These issues are rarely discussed explicitly as matters of peace education, but it is clear that science educators have had education for peace and education about peace (Reardon 2000) on their mind for some time. Reardon presents a broad definition of peace education, elements of which can be found across science education literature, including international (Deboer 2011;Kyle 1999;Tyokumber 2010), multicultural (Mutegi 2011), and environmental education (Ramirez et al. 2017;Reis 2014). Yet, science education (as a field) does not explicitly engage with peace education (as a field) to any substantive degree; as Bjerstedt (1992) puts it, there is very little explicit peace education going on, but implicit peace education -situating lessons within a broader context of peace-seeking aims -is, indeed, there. ...
... Despite an evolving vision of the NoS, achieving 'science for all' has proved challenging in practice. Hodson (1999), Mutegi (2011), andMilner (2015) provide some criticisms to the science for all movement, specifically, that it does not acknowledge the colonialist nature of Western science, and does not actively work against it. Hodson (1999) described the importance of understanding science education in multicultural settings, teaching antiracism, and developing a global view of the world. ...
... 256), mirroring concerns about epistemic violence found in peace education literature (Cremin, Echavarría, and Kester 2018;Oswald Spring 2021). Mutegi (2011) described AAAS' 'science for all' as a difficult phrase, because their vision adopted a canonical view of Western science, and assumed a cultural transmission model that expected this view of science was accessible and appropriate for all groups. As a researcher on science education for African American children, Mutegi (2011) argues that science is not colorblind, and that it should include helping people to overcome their oppression, echoed by the literature on critical peace education praxis (Bajaj 2015). ...
Article
Science education has historically been viewed both as a tool to advance competitiveness as well as to improve the human condition. However, science education as it is enacted at a systemic level often presents itself in over-simplified (and typically Westernized) form that does not fully lend teachers and students the opportunity to explore the relationship between science and peace. This article explores science education literature through the lens of peace education frameworks to look for opportunities to explicitly acknowledge the possibility for the integration between these two fields. The review revealed four major themes in science education literature with connections to peace education, including (1) ‘science for all’ initiatives, (2) science-technology-society and socio-scientific issues movements, (3) decolonization and diversity, and (4) science education as political activism. This article provides recommendations for emphasizing these themes in the context of science education standards, teaching resources, and teacher education programs.
... These conflicting narratives are problematic because mainstream education research, which is heavily influenced by White, middle class ideologies, forcibly measures communities of color against those White middle class ideologies. Thereby, nonmainstream groups' cultural norms are devalued (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013Seriki, 2018, Walls, 2011Yosso, 2005). ...
... As a Black STEM education researcher, I find challenging mainstream STEM education to be difficult at times because: (1) Black students are depicted as low performing and disengaged science learners (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013; (2) Black students' families and communities are devalued and dehumanized (Duncan, 2005;Gholson & Wilkes, 2017;Ridgeway & Yerrick, 2016); and (3) STEM is narrowly defined by and limited to the Western European version, which is constructed by and for White people and negates the historic participation of Black people as creators of STEM knowledge (Bullock, 2017;Le & Matias, 2018;Mensah & Jackson, 2018;Mutegi, 2011). One result of this is people of color are absent as STEM producers in K-12 and higher education curriculum leaving the illusion for both mainstream and non-mainstream students' that people of color are not contributors nor are worthy of discussing (Walls, 2011;Mutegi, 2011). ...
... As a Black STEM education researcher, I find challenging mainstream STEM education to be difficult at times because: (1) Black students are depicted as low performing and disengaged science learners (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013; (2) Black students' families and communities are devalued and dehumanized (Duncan, 2005;Gholson & Wilkes, 2017;Ridgeway & Yerrick, 2016); and (3) STEM is narrowly defined by and limited to the Western European version, which is constructed by and for White people and negates the historic participation of Black people as creators of STEM knowledge (Bullock, 2017;Le & Matias, 2018;Mensah & Jackson, 2018;Mutegi, 2011). One result of this is people of color are absent as STEM producers in K-12 and higher education curriculum leaving the illusion for both mainstream and non-mainstream students' that people of color are not contributors nor are worthy of discussing (Walls, 2011;Mutegi, 2011). ...
... These conflicting narratives are problematic because mainstream education research, which is heavily influenced by White, middle class ideologies, forcibly measures communities of color against those White middle class ideologies. Thereby, nonmainstream groups' cultural norms are devalued (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013Seriki, 2018, Walls, 2011Yosso, 2005). ...
... As a Black STEM education researcher, I find challenging mainstream STEM education to be difficult at times because: (1) Black students are depicted as low performing and disengaged science learners (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013; (2) Black students' families and communities are devalued and dehumanized (Duncan, 2005;Gholson & Wilkes, 2017;Ridgeway & Yerrick, 2016); and (3) STEM is narrowly defined by and limited to the Western European version, which is constructed by and for White people and negates the historic participation of Black people as creators of STEM knowledge (Bullock, 2017;Le & Matias, 2018;Mensah & Jackson, 2018;Mutegi, 2011). One result of this is people of color are absent as STEM producers in K-12 and higher education curriculum leaving the illusion for both mainstream and non-mainstream students' that people of color are not contributors nor are worthy of discussing (Walls, 2011;Mutegi, 2011). ...
... As a Black STEM education researcher, I find challenging mainstream STEM education to be difficult at times because: (1) Black students are depicted as low performing and disengaged science learners (Mutegi, 2011(Mutegi, , 2013; (2) Black students' families and communities are devalued and dehumanized (Duncan, 2005;Gholson & Wilkes, 2017;Ridgeway & Yerrick, 2016); and (3) STEM is narrowly defined by and limited to the Western European version, which is constructed by and for White people and negates the historic participation of Black people as creators of STEM knowledge (Bullock, 2017;Le & Matias, 2018;Mensah & Jackson, 2018;Mutegi, 2011). One result of this is people of color are absent as STEM producers in K-12 and higher education curriculum leaving the illusion for both mainstream and non-mainstream students' that people of color are not contributors nor are worthy of discussing (Walls, 2011;Mutegi, 2011). ...
Article
This essay shares a personal narrative from a Black woman STEM education researcher whose experiences living in poverty positively impacted her childhood and provided her with skills and strategies to navigate academia. The author's lived experiences have influenced her social justice research agenda aimed at combating social inequities. Her use of narrative is intended to provide insight for other researchers of color who may share similar experiences with their participants. Ultimately, her goal is to disrupt deficit narratives about communities of color living in poverty, which typically fail to address their systematic disenfranchisement, by providing a counter-narrative and descriptions of her lived experiences with STEM.
... The theoretical foundation for the reconceptualization described in the chapter comes from Goduka's theoretical framework for indigenous knowledge systems (Goduka, Madolo, Rozani, Notsi, & Talen, 2013), Mutegi's (2011) articulation of socially transformative STEM curriculum, and Codrington's (2014) work on liberatory education. Drawing from these theoretical foundations, the chapter describes a yearlong project in which three, high school-aged, young ladies and one university professor worked collaboratively as science writers. ...
... Socially Transformative STEM Curriculum is a curricular approach developed in response to the sociocultural positioning of people of African descent worldwide. In presenting this approach, Mutegi (2011) argues that African people continue to live a colonized, slave-like existence. In response to this, their education should be one that positions them to dismantle systemic racism. ...
... While the practice of reconceptualizing science content reflects each of the three theoretical perspectives (Codrington, 2014;Goduka, 2005;Mutegi, 2011), it is especially illustrative of Codrington's commitment to liberatory practice. Through her questions, Codrington reminds us that "systems of science [are] epistemologically and ontologically hegemonic in nature" and that systems of science "perpetuate cycles of racism, colonialism, and Western values steeped in dominance over people and consumption of natural resources." ...
Chapter
This chapter is a description of practice grounded in the idea that the primary problems Black children face in schools are political problems. The chapter articulates three aspects of science education that should be reconceptualized if we are to adequately address these problems. These three aspects are: the purpose of science education; science content; and the role of the instructor. The theoretical foundation for reconceptualizing these three aspects of science education comes from Goduka’s (2005) articulation of eZiko, Mutegi’s (2011) articulation of socially transformative STEM curriculum, and Codrington’s (2014) work on liberatory education. Drawing from this theoretical foundation, the chapter illustrates the how science educators could reconceptualize the purpose of science education, science content, and the role of the instructor by describing a year-long project in which three, high school-aged, young ladies and one university professor worked collaboratively as science writers. Through the Black Kids Read - Science Writers project, these young ladies took on the task of authoring science-oriented literature for elementary-aged children. [The book can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.3726/b14757].
... Science praxes reflect teaching practices and actions focused on promoting science inquiry, learning and understanding; it also includes the general ethos teachers create within science learning spaces that are attentive (or not) to students' social, emotional, psychological, cultural, and physical well-being (e.g., Mensah & Jackson, 2018). In critically examining existing science praxes, Black scholars have argued for nuanced, critical, racialized examinations of science education praxis to unpack both direct and indirect implications of racist policies, practices, pedagogies, and mind-sets on students' science engagement, possibilities, and outcomes (e.g., Dodo Seriki, 2018;Madkins & McKinney de Royston, 2019;Mutegi, 2011;E. C. Parsons et al., 2011). ...
... In formulating these guiding concepts, we consider the fact that the advancement of science, in ways that are truly "for the good of the people," does not, has not, and will not be achieved without redressing systemic anti-Blackness (Mutegi, 2011). Redressing systemic anti-Blackness can start with but should not be limited to actions that center and build upon Black contributions to science and Black cultural perspectives of science. ...
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Article
This paper calls for a critical reimagination of science epistemology and praxis by advocating for a move toward Black liberation in and through K-12 science education. This call is driven by our desires as authors to foster a future of K-12 science teaching and learning that centers, embraces, and promotes historical and contemporary Black scientific innovation and creativity through practices that redress structural anti-Black racism and its implications on Black existence and life. Black Liberatory K-12 Science Education (BLKSE) names the existing challenges with cultivating and empowering Black minds in and through science as a result of anti-Black ideologies that ground and govern K-12 science access, teaching and learning. In naming said challenges as the manifestations of anti-Black ideologies, we shed light on the roles of K-12 science teachers and science teacher education regarding the treatment of Black students given oppressive policies and practices that fail to recognize Black brilliance and innovation. By advocating for a push toward BLKSE, we offer guiding concepts we feel are necessary to begin the process of rooting out anti-Blackness; a process that centers a holistic, heterogenous form of Blackness at the crux of science inquiry and understanding. As a result of this perspec- tive, BLKSE embraces the beauty and creativity of Black youth, naming their positions and ideas as forms of scientific knowledge and inquiry, while disrupting existing mainstream paradigms and practices in science education. Implications for ways to work toward BLKSE in K-12 science teaching and teacher education are provided.
... To provide some guidance, there are five areas of mastery that we want to help students to achieve (Mutegi 2011). First, students should develop a mastery of content. ...
... The bulk of our instructional focus is aimed at helping students to understand content, and to represent atoms, molecules, and compounds. Both modifications are consistent with Mutegi's (2011) ...
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Article
As a fifth-year teacher in an urban middle school, I have become keenly aware of how important it is to provide my students, who are predominantly African American, with culturally responsive classroom experiences. In this application of socially transformative science curriculum, I began with a traditional lesson on atoms, molecules, and compounds and modified two activities within the lesson. Explanation (20 minutes) The explanation portion of the lesson is aimed at facilitating students' understandings of the differences between atoms, molecules, and compounds. To begin this portion of the lesson, students are provided with a Venn diagram featuring bubbles for molecules, compounds, and atoms as well as brief descriptions of each (see Figure 2). [Extracted from the article]
... We, like others, are critical of dominant epistemologies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that dismiss the expansive meaning making practices and knowledge of students from nondominant communities (e.g., Martin, 2009;Nasir, Hand, & Taylor, 2008;Vossoughi et al., 2016). For science, this coincides with a broader (western) culture of power that favors discrete scientific content over the contexts through which learners within diverse communities come to know and engage with particular phenomenon (Barton & Yang, 2000;Bricker, Reeve, & Bell, 2014, Mutegi, 2011. ...
... Within a justice-centered science pedagogical framework, students are prompted to examine socio-scientific issues of personal and communal importance. Such an approach has particular relevance within African American communities because of the role that science has played historically in contributing to their oppression (Morales-Doyle, 2017;Mutegi, 2011). Justicecentered science pedagogy is also place-based in that it emphasizes the interconnectedness of physical/spatial, social, political, and domain knowledge at particular moments. ...
... For some time, many scholars have challenged the science for all rhetoric to live up to its inclusionary, empowering potential (Bang & Medin, 2010;Barton, 1998;Barton & Osborne, 2001;Bryan & Atwater, 2002;Mutegi, 2011). ...
... Furthermore, broadening participation approaches do not address growing concerns that our frame on who learners are expected to be in science classrooms is narrowly aligned with white middle-class norms. In other words, minoritized students are often expected to engage in science teaching and learning experiences that are assimilation-oriented and do not value their existing scientific forms of knowledge or scientific practices (Bang & Vossoughi, 2016;Bang, Warren, Rosebery, & Medin, 2012;Morales-Doyle, 2017;Mutegi, 2011;Windschitl & Barton, 2016). Some scholars assert that such approaches to science teaching and learning are undergirded by deficit-model thinking (Licona, 2013;Morales-Doyle, 2017;Nasir, 2012;Solórzano & Yosso, 2001;Zeidler, 2016). ...
Article
Failure to improve achievement in K‐12 science for racially minoritized students and students living in poverty continues to challenge the inclusionary rhetoric of science for all. Science education researchers, teacher educators, and educators must consider the racialized and classed inequalities that continue to limit students’ opportunities to learn. To achieve this, we must be able to conceptualize sociopolitical pedagogical approaches and learn from empirical examples of science teachers who consciously attend to their students’ realities in empowering rather than deficit‐oriented ways. We argue for the importance of utilizing culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and attending to and theorizing an educator's sociopolitical consciousness and enactments of political clarity in science instruction. Our analysis highlights how an African American male science teacher responds to his middle school students’ realities and identities as African American youth and children growing up contexts with limited economic resources. Through classroom observations and interviews with the teacher, we nuance our understanding of sociopolitical consciousness, the third tenet of CRP, as reliant upon a teacher's political clarity and examine how, through instruction, science teachers can position students and their realities as consonant with knowing and doing science and being scientists.
... We, like others, are critical of dominant epistemologies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that dismiss the expansive meaning making practices and knowledge of students from nondominant communities (e.g., Martin, 2009;Nasir, Hand, & Taylor, 2008;Vossoughi et al., 2016). For science, this coincides with a broader (western) culture of power that favors discrete scientific content over the contexts through which learners within diverse communities come to know and engage with particular phenomenon (Barton & Yang, 2000;Bricker, Reeve, & Bell, 2014, Mutegi, 2011. ...
... Within a justice-centered science pedagogical framework, students are prompted to examine socio-scientific issues of personal and communal importance. Such an approach has particular relevance within African American communities because of the role that science has played historically in contributing to their oppression (Morales-Doyle, 2017;Mutegi, 2011). Justicecentered science pedagogy is also place-based in that it emphasizes the interconnectedness of physical/spatial, social, political, and domain knowledge at particular moments. ...
Article
The study of water as a K–12 science idea often divorces its properties from its deeply politicized history as a resource that has been limited, compromised, and intentionally withheld from nondominant communities. Although a robust body of scholarship has aptly critiqued decontextualized and depoliticized pedagogies and called for critical science-learning environments designed through the lens of equity, historicity, and power, more insight is needed into how children develop in relation to these design imperatives and within sociopolitical contexts where environmental issues pose a direct threat. We report select findings from a 2-year ethnographic project that investigated Black student agency in a school with a place-based design. Specifically, we hone in on the themes of water and water justice, which inspired the development of a socio-scientific unit enacted in two 4th-/5th-grade classrooms. This unit coincided with the initial spike in public awareness around the still unresolved water crisis in Flint, MI. For this article, we situate the “Flint” module as an illustrative case of justice-centered science pedagogy and analyze Black students’ disciplinary, affective, and sociopolitical understandings. We found that children’s meaning-making shifted from individualized accounts to critical, systemic explanations of environmental justice issues. The saliency of children's affective understandings throughout the unit was also captured. We expound on these findings and conclude with a discussion of implications, particularly as it relates to the ethics and politics of developing critical scientific capacity in young children to confront lived environmental human rights issues.
... Typically, in US schools, students and teachers from marginalized populations are expected to conform to White mainstream science (Mensah and Jackson 2018). This is worrisome since people from these groups receive the message that science education is a place where their culture, knowledge, and problem-solving approaches are devalued (Mutegi 2011). ...
... Using the construct of whiteness and students' racialized experiences, I would like to add to the authors' argument and suggest that the deconstruction of whiteness and how it operates within science education through teacher preparation (Mensah and Jackson 2018); science content (Mutegi 2011), and who is considered a scientist (Le and Matias 2018) need deeper consideration. Science education is imbued with whiteness; it is the mechanism that marginalizes groups. ...
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Article
This paper is written in response to Alberto J. Rodriguez and Deb Morrison’s article entitled, “Expanding and Enacting Transformative Meanings of Equity, Diversity and Social Justice in Science Education.” The authors provide a historical account of science education social justice research efforts within the USA and support the need to more critically incorporate social justice research agendas in science education. They summarize four main rationales used in science education research for engaging in equity, diversity and social justice: the economic, moral, demographic shift, and sociotransformative arguments. The authors remind researchers to consider systems of power and privilege when advocating for marginalized people, arguing that social justice should be embodied by the researcher and constantly be enacted within their work. The authors question why few have taken up social justice science education research. This paper expands on these authors’ arguments by offering a critical race analysis of the social justice construct in science education research. I conclude with suggesting the need to deconstruct whiteness within social justice science education research agendas.
... The work of secondary science teachers in the USA has changed rapidly over the last 20 years as forces of globalization and related school reforms place new demands on teachers and their students regarding the teaching and learning of disciplinary literacies. At the same time, science teachers have faced increasing calls to grapple with the ways colonialism and systemic racism have influenced science teaching, learning, and literacy practices (e.g., Mutegi, 2011;Sheth, 2019). And this is not even to mention the more recent moment-by-moment changes science teachers have contended with as a result of COVID-19. ...
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Chapter
This chapter analyzes one high school science teacher’s development of disciplinary linguistic knowledge (DLK) for the purpose of meeting the civil rights of multilingual students in his English-dominant classroom. First, the chapter offers a brief description of the theoretical underpinnings of DLK and our conception of teachers’ professional knowledge development. Second, we outline our ethnographic methods for tracing the focal teacher’s DLK development. Third, drawing on six years of data, we present findings which suggest four stages of DLK development: (1) learning functional metalanguage to “see” classroom discourse in new ways; (2) applying functional metalanguage to develop conscious knowledge of official literacy practices in high-school science; (3) applying functional metalanguage to develop conscious knowledge of multilingual students’ literacy practices in science class; and (4) experimenting with language-focused curriculum design and implementation for unique contexts. Finally, we discuss what changes to practice emerged from this process and had staying power over time, as well as the implications of our findings for the practice of science teacher education and professional development.
... This implies that science is not universal but diverse in relation to socio-political developments and histories globally. The development of mathematics education, along with a particular form of numeracy, has thus unfolded within broader socio-political histories of colonialism, capitalism and imperialism, from which a Western modern science has developed and expanded (Mutegi, 2011). ...
... Both the paper I am responding to and my response thus far address primarily questions of how we can improve the science teaching and learning of African American students. Nothing so far has been critical or truly transformative, because we have not addressed the ways that science education can and should be used to promote social change (Mutegi 2011). To move beyond the singular goal of content mastery, I turn to the idea of liberatory pedagogy (Freire 1970), which seeks to transform the classroom into a dialogic and student-powered learning environment. ...
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Article
This essay takes up a question that was left unanswered in the paper by Parsons and Morton, namely, why the African American students interviewed in the study described their best teachers as they did. The theoretical perspectives of Rogoff and Boykin are applied to show the importance of culturally resonant science classrooms that hum with the repertoires and dimensions of African American students. Examples are provided to illustrate the need for science teaching that emerges from, is situated in and relevant to the lives of African American students, as well as approaches that lead to critical, socially transformative science teaching. These examples are also used to illustrate that a small space exists within NGSS for this kind of teaching to be done in science classrooms. Lastly, although student voice is important, surveying African American students to understand how they might best be taught science must be considered in the context of the racialized nature of the students’ experiences in the oppressive educational system that they have endured.
... Create humanizing spaces within schools and the larger community for Black girls to access STEM with authenticity Morton and Smith-Mutegi (2022) discussed disparities in the types of learning experiences that Black girls are afforded, and advocated for transformative spaces where their abilities and belongingness in STEM are validated. In their argument, they centered the importance of self-efficacy (Bandura 1986;Britner and Pajares 2006) and teaching the STEM disciplines using socially transformative curricula to master content, currency, context, critique, and conduct (Mutegi 2011). William Tate (2001) argued that access to science and mathematics education in urban schools is a civil rights issue, and that inequalities in schooling have focused on sharing the same "educational space" with our White counterparts, rather than on access to high-quality academic preparation. ...
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Article
This forum paper dialogues with Crystal Morton and Demetrice Smith-Mutegi’s Making “it” matter: Developing African American girls and young women’s mathematics and science identities through informal STEM learning. Their article unveils the experiences of participants in Girls STEM Institute, and how they challenged beliefs about their ability to perform in science and mathematics. I extend the discussion to explore the importance of access through community-based initiatives and stand on the premise that we will continue to oxygenate master narratives and perpetuate inequities if the structure and function of our programs fail to challenge the status quo. Therefore, this paper serves as a call to action to (1) recognize and address spirit murdering from teachers and authority figures who dismiss the abilities of Black girls to perform in STEM; (2) create humanizing spaces within schools and the larger community for Black girls to access STEM with authenticity; and (3) leverage the multidimensional identities of Black girls in ways that validate their cultural resources and brilliance. When we commit ourselves to creating more equitable learning spaces in STEM, then our actions will align with our responsibility to make Black girls matter.
... Unfortunately, opportunity gaps in learning science continue throughout formal schooling. Mutegi (2011) and Roehrig and Luft (2006) have identified a "one-size-fitsall" approach that teachers tend to implement for teaching science to all children as problematic, which contributes to widening opportunity gaps. This standardized approach represents a single dominant culture while ignoring the various ranges of nondominant children's rich cultural knowledge and experiences (Milner, 2010;Wynter-Hoyte et al., 2019). ...
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The present study investigated how 380 early childhood pre-service teachers perceived equity in science education and how they planned to incorporate their equity concept into their future science teaching practices. An inductive thematic analysis of the data collected indicated that the majority of pre-service teachers harboured misconceptions about equity in science education. They also conceptualized equity in science education as involving English learners, something unrelated to children’s racial/ethnic backgrounds. Colorblindness and deficit beliefs were pervasive among pre-service teachers. One important implication is the need for pre-service teachers to understand that resolving opportunity gaps in science education between dominant and nondominant children depends on building their knowledge of equitable science instruction. Another implication is the need for ECE science teacher educators to create opportunities for pre-service teachers to identify their own cultural backgrounds, as well as to critically and continuously reflect on their own biases and prejudices towards children who come from diverse backgrounds.
... Interest in critical perspectives is also growing among science educators. It rests at the core of Weinstein's (2015) study of street medics, Tan and Barton's (2010) examination of the figured worlds of racial minority students, Aguilar-Valdez et al. (2013) push to have Latinx students' struggle in napantla foregrounded in science instruction, Morales-Doyle's (2017) justice-centered science pedagogy, and Mutegi's (2011)advocacy of socially transformative science curricula for learners of African descent (Mutegi & Momanyi, 2020). Although these scholars vary widely in the ways that they conceptualize critical perspectives in their work, they all struggle against both (a) the notion that there is one way to do science, and (b) the romanticization so prominent in presentations of Modern Western Science (MWS). ...
Article
Although the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Science Education Standards prioritize the production of critical consumers of science as an overarching goal, there is relatively little science education research aimed at fostering critical perspectives among science teachers. The purpose of this theory-generative study is to identify ideas that might serve as affordances or hindrances to the development of critical perspectives of science. Data were collected from 64, preservice elementary-level teachers, over the course of three semesters, using an open-ended survey. In these data, we identified three affordances and five hindrances that might influence our ability to foster critical perspectives. Among the affordances for fostering critical perspectives, we found that students (a) have a clear sense that cultural difference does not suggest inferiority, (b) have a clear sense that human bias influences science work, and (c) regard opinion as a factor shaping the work of scientists. Among the hindrances to fostering critical perspectives we found that students (d) regard Western science as superior to non-Western science, (e) do not have a strong working knowledge of the concept of “culture,” (f) regard science as an objective enterprise, (g) do not have a strong working knowledge of the concept of “objective,” and (h) have a one-sided view of scientific advancement. We conclude with suggestions for future research and for practice.
... Prior to the NGSS, there have been science reforms, such as "science for all," arguing for all students' academic achievement and closing the ever-present disparities in science achievement and participation (Mutegi, 2011). The NGSS, which States and schools have begun to implement to varying degrees, argue for equity and diversity in science instruction more strongly than prior standards (Rodriguez, 2015). ...
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The goal of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is to move away from traditional science teaching that has been based on the transmission of ideas and memorization of concepts and vocabulary. However, teaching science differently is challenging because teachers tend to teach the way they were taught, and preservice teachers enter teacher preparation programs with a set of teaching practices acquired during their many years of being in classrooms and observing teachers. Thus, becoming a science teacher means developing new skills and acquiring new ways of thinking. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how NGSS teaching, ambitious science teaching, equitable science teaching, and social justice science teaching, which were taught in a science teaching methods course, were enacted by preservice teachers during student teaching. The course was designed to utilize the practices of ambitious science teaching to promote NGSS teaching, as well as equitable teaching and social justice teaching. The study followed three preservice teachers through a yearlong science teaching methods course and into their student teaching classrooms. Data sources included classroom observations and video recordings, interviews, focus groups, teaching artifacts, and course assignments. Using the theoretical framework of habitus, structure and agency, the study examined affordances and constraints to the enactment of new science teaching practices. The findings show that, despite all being in the same science teaching methods course, the preservice teachers were on different trajectories in enacting NGSS and AST teaching, equitable science teaching, and social justice science teaching, thus making evident the power of affordances and constraints outside the university course in shaping their science teaching habitus. The findings suggest that change of habitus requires the support of multiple structures simultaneously and that all affordances and constraints are not equally powerful. Overall, the preservice teachers made more movement toward NGSS teaching than toward equitable science teaching and social justice science teaching. Previous science teaching that they experienced and their cooperating teachers during student teaching were found to be particularly strong structures in affording and constraining change of habitus. The concepts of habitus, structure and agency were shown to be useful in understanding why there was differential enactment of science teaching practices advocated for in the course. This research distinguishes between equitable teaching and social justice teaching and applies these to science teaching in ways that have not been seen in the literature. Taken together, the findings have implications for how teacher educators, teacher preparation programs, and science education policymakers may more effectively support changes in science teaching.
... Students, like Black girls, who have racialized and gendered experiences in STEM learning spaces (Tan et al., 2013) are not often considered in curriculum. Rather a homogenized "science for all" experience is offered as an objective alternative to attending to racialized and gendered experiences of students and teachers (Mutegi, 2011). Hierarchies within STEM education (Barton & Yang, 2000) are a result of the dominant culture as a "culture of power" (Aschbacher et al., 2010, p. 564) that determines what is expected as normal, acceptable, right, and valid. ...
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This research highlights the educational and professional experiences of three Black female secondary teachers of engineering. Using a lens of community cultural wealth, this research calls attention to the resources these teachers called upon during their navigation of engineering pathways and currently utilize to challenge their school's normative perceptions of engineering and engineers. Findings of this work discuss how aspirational capital functioned to support the teachers' successful matriculation through a STEM high school and undergraduate engineering and/or architecture programs, while also serving as a foundation for how they currently created opportunities for their students. Implications for future engineering education research and approaches for k-12 engineering educators acknowledging racialized and/or gendered experiences in these spaces are discussed.
... Furthermore, researchers interested in studying asset-based K-12 engineering education should be mindful of the ways their theoretical frameworks and methodologies position Black males in the education and engineering ecosystem. Calabrese Barton (2001) and Mutegi (2011) suggest that for transformation to occur our scholarship must reckon with the sociohistorical realities of Black males' resilience to oppressive educational conditions; otherwise, we will only ensure the ongoing exclusion and devaluing of Black males in engineering. ...
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Engineering educators must consider how the cultural backgrounds of students coincide (or diverge) with the epistemological and ontological formation of an engineer. Hence, this work is presented as an exhortation to engineering educators, particularly in a pre-college context, to critically evaluate how race-conscious pedagogies can be exerted in this field. In this autoethnographic study, I convey my attempt to teach engineering with explicit consideration of the sociopolitical context of the Black male youth I taught. As a Black male, I have an insider perspective into the realities that must be navigated to succeed in a racialized society, where Black males are a demographic that has been mercilessly underserved and over-criminalized in the educational system. I discovered three themes that describe my approach to actualizing culturally relevant pedagogy in pre-college engineering education, which are (i) exhibiting political clarity in curriculum design and implementation, (ii) using students’ lived experiences as authentic contexts for teaching engineering, and (iii) building relationships with students, their families, and community so that we know the students we are teaching.
... Many scholars of race, social justice, equity, heritage, and Indigenous knowledge in science have shown that science teaching and learning cannot be neutral. For this group, science learning must imbed political, sociocultural, and historical injustices caused and supported by science (Atwater et al., 2013;Basu, 2008;Brown, 2011;Cajete, 1999;Chinn, 2007;Hodson & Dennick, 1994;Johnson, 2011;Mensah, 2013;Mutegi, 2011;Szostkowski & Upadhyay, 2019;Tolbert, 2015;Tuhiwai Smith, 2012). Therefore, antiracist and critical pedagogies together allow us to understand how and why Mr. Binod takes specific pedagogical actions in science class and engages students in science content and broader sociohistorical issues. ...
Article
This is a case study of a high school science teacher in an Indigenous public school in Nepal. In this paper, we share the success of the science teacher in antiracist and critical pedagogy in his science class. We focus specifically on how the science teacher was successful in drawing students to interact with historical and cultural discrimination through science. Our data analysis identified two themes showing successful antiracist and critical science teaching that is inclusive of diverse cultural experiences. The study points to potential for antiracist and critically oriented science education for social change in the context of the Global South.
... There has been a push in mainstream science education towards organizing curriculum around so-called natural phenomena. This approach presumes a nature-culture binary (Kayumova, McGuire, and Cardello 2018) and pushes critical questions about justice and equity to the margins of the science curriculum, if not out of the curriculum altogether (Mutegi 2011). Justice-centered science pedagogy advocates SJSI, rather than natural phenomena, be the central themes in science curriculum. ...
Article
This article introduces Youth Participatory Science (YPS) as an approach to science teaching and grassroots knowledge production that draws from traditions of youth participatory action research (YPAR) and citizen science. YPS is differentiated from YPAR by its emphasis on the tools and methods of the so-called natural sciences while it extends citizen science in important ways by prioritizing youth, pedagogy, and democratizing participation in all phases of knowledge production. This article contributes to a conceptual definition of YPS and articulates the affordances and limitations of distinguishing it from YPAR and citizen science. It then introduces a curriculum framework that synthesizes approaches to planning for critical pedagogy and science education with the intention of supporting teachers to navigate the barriers to enacting YPS in secondary science classrooms.
... These contexts provide opportunities to experience macro and microaffirmation kindness cues, which include respect for dignity and experiencing belonging to community, and may significantly increase a sense of social safety that is optimal for learning and persistence. These predictions align with theorizing and empirical findings on how affirming one's social belonging leads to a higher grade point average, in Black, but not in white seventh-grade students (Shnabel et al., 2013) and that adopting approaches to science education that are more culturally aligned with learners has benefits (Mutegi, 2011;Cobern, 2012;Atwater et al., 2013;Parsons and Carlone, 2013). ...
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The present studies aimed to advance the measurement and understanding of microaffirmation kindness cues and assessed how they related to historically underrepresented (HU) and historically overrepresented (HO) undergraduate student persistence in science-related career pathways. Study 1 developed and tested the dimensionality of a new Microaffirmations Scale. Study 2 confirmed the two-factor structure of the Microaffirmations Scale and demonstrated that the scale possessed measurement invariance across HU and HO students. Further, the scale was administered as part of a longitudinal design spanning 9 months, with results showing that students' reported microaffirmations did not directly predict higher intentions to persist in science-related career pathways 9 months later. However, scientific self-efficacy and identity, measures of student integration into the science community, mediated this relationship. Overall, our results demonstrated that microaffirmations can be measured in an academic context and that these experiences have predictive value when they increase students' integration into their science communities, ultimately resulting in greater intentions to persist 9 months later. Researchers and practitioners can use the Microaffirmations Scale for future investigations to increase understanding of the positive contextual factors that can ultimately help reduce persistence gaps in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree attainment.
... • Melhoria das estruturas, políticas e programas educacionais, de forma a proporcionar uma melhor instrução e uma participação mais inclusiva (Brotman & Moore, 2008;Muller, Stage & Kinzie, 2001;Mutegi, 2011;Oakes, 1990;Ong et al., 2011); ...
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Este artigo apresenta a teoria “repertório colaboração, raça e género” (adiante designada como RCRG) problematizando como a tomada de consciência sobre a importância da raça e do género influencia os comportamentos de colaboração e a escolha dos membros das equipas em ciência, tecnologia, engenharia e matemática (CTEM). Estamos particularmente interessados na aplicação do RCRG no contexto do ensino superior em CTEM, espaço tradicionalmente entendido como lugar privilegiado para iniciativas relacionadas com a diversidade. Utilizando omodelo de capital científico, técnico e humano (CCTH) como ponto de partida, elaborámosa teoria do RCRG, tendo em conta três variáveis essenciais: as normas de colaboração entrecientistas; a dinâmica de intercâmbio social e o desenvolvimento e utilização de sensibilizaçãorelativa a raça e a género. Apesar da existência de muitas teorias que explicam o papel da raça edo género na obtenção de resultados educacionais, profissionais e sociais, poucas têm em contaos aspetos únicos da cultura e das instituições de CTEM, particularmente no que respeita aosmodos de produzir ciência com base na colaboração e no trabalho em equipa - dois elementoscruciais para a produção de conhecimento em CTEM. Afirmamos que uma teoria específica quetenha em consideração o contexto das CTEM pode desencadear mais esforços estratégicos paraalcançar uma diversidade mais significativa, promover a produtividade em CTEM e potenciar ovalor público da ciência.
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Culturally responsive STEM and computing initiatives aim to engage and embolden a diverse range of learners, center their identity and experiences in curriculum, and connect learners to each other and their communities. With an abrupt pivot to online learning at the beginning of 2020, more educational experiences have taken place virtually. We ran a virtual synchronous culturally responsive computing camp and saw that establishing the right environment online to support a good sense of connectedness was challenging. To investigate this further, we interviewed eight K-12 instructors of culturally responsive STEM and computing programs. Three themes emerged on defining and cultivating connectedness in learning experiences, the role of equity in supporting community online, and affordances of being online specific to culturally responsive perspectives. We support our thematic findings with vignettes from the camp data. In this study, we address K-12 culturally responsive STEM and computing instructors' beliefs, experiences, and approaches regarding cultivating connectedness online. This work fills a gap in understanding instructor perspectives on building in-program and broader community connections online from a culturally responsive STEM and computing lens.
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Many current STEM discipline reforms embrace the language of increased representation and diversity in higher education. Despite the tacit agreement on long-term goals for expanding diversity, institutions may also enact a counter-narrative and agenda that includes an emphasis on “high standards,” the objectivity and rationality of the discipline, and the desire to treat every faculty “equally.” In this chapter, we use vignettes from our experiences researching engineering programs to explain how the engineering culture within the academy propagates this counter agenda and produces some undesirable, perhaps even unintended, consequences. Each vignette demonstrates the need to open the constrained views of the membership toward equity and attempts to re-assess the opportunities to advance a broadened definition of scholarship, funding, support, and the definition of successful engineering education work. We conclude by suggesting strategies in higher education contexts to optimize engagement with the challenges we face in an era where equity and social justice are in the forefront of our national agenda.KeywordsEngineering educationEquity in STEMEngineering cultureAnti-racism
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This article explores and wrestles with the various discourses that arise when considering why it is important to advise students from an assets‐based and holistic approach into science‐related majors and careers. Our hope is to inform how and why it is important to advise students into science‐related careers, specifically, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, more generally, from an ethical and justice‐oriented approach. We begin with a review of empirical literature that highlights the different approaches to advising and the challenges racially and gender‐minoritized students often face in STEM fields. We then review contemporary research from science education that document the hostilities that racially and gender‐minoritized students experience in undergraduate and graduate science programs. We find the intersection of these two subfields to be productive for elucidating multilevel, context‐dependent strategies, which can redress the inexcusable and alarming underrepresentation and exclusion of racially minoritized peoples in science programs and careers in the United States. We end by contemplating the ethical question of how science programs, careers, and the broader field would need to change, to keep historically minoritized students from experiencing further material and epistemological violence. We argue that, without this reimagination, even the most effective advising models will only ensure that more racially and gender‐minoritized students are sacrificed on the altar of “equality” for the sake of the economic and geopolitical needs of the state.
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In this paper, we outline how science teachers might engage in the work of creating educational equity. While acknowledging the historical inherent inequities associated with issues of access, opportunities to engage in science learning for individuals of marginalized identities (e.g., BIPOC individuals and women), and achievement, we broaden this definition to include social justice as a framework by which we can develop opportunities for the fostering of students' affinity identities with science. To this end, we draw on theorizations of equity within educational research, specifically discussed as excellence, equality, fairness, a zero‐sum game, and most recently, social justice. Additionally, we utilize McKinney de Royston and Nasir's (2017) Racialized Learning Ecologies framework. This framework provides a useful lens to notice the layers of (in)equity within education. We then extend this ecological model into science education and present three lenses (i.e., layers) through which equity operates within science teaching and learning. We conclude with a discussion of the practical implications of doing the work of equity, that is, recognizing, interpreting, and redressing inequity in science classrooms. Ultimately, we provide an actionable definition of equity that has the potential to facilitate transformative and socially just science teaching and learning.
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In her critical analysis of a popular children’s television show which centers the experiences of a Black girl veterinarian, Sheron Mark finds that although the positioning of these identities illustrates progress vis-à-vis representation, diversity through representation further upholds whiteness. Consequently, to meaningfully engage tenets of diversity and equity in STEM formal and informal learning spaces, the sociocultural contextual factors that account for the systems of power which shape broader ideological perspectives of STEM must be acknowledged. As she calls for such a reckoning within informal and formal STEM spaces, this forum contributes to Mark’s argument by illustrating how the term “equity” is operationalized within current science reform-aligned curricula. Throughout the forum, I provide parallel examples of how such standards which implicate equity function much like diversity, thus maintaining whiteness. Returning to Mark’s charge, this forum concludes with an actionable vision for STEM learning that is truly accommodating of diverse epistemologies and identities in the pursuit of a more equitable STEM experience for youth of color.
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This qualitative case study examines the experiences of three Black female science teachers who experienced and participated in the triumphs and failings of today’s charter school system while teaching Black and Brown students. Using Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy as frameworks, the findings of the study revealed that the teachers explained the rationale behind how and why they teach science to Black and Brown students, the actions that define their thinking (both positive and negative), and the personal and professional repercussions for being a Black woman science teacher working at a Charter Management Organization (CMO). Based on these findings, we suggest that science teacher educators encourage teachers to take risks by engaging in socio-political consciousness through curriculum redesign. Disrupting the White status quo requires science teacher educators to practice culturally relevant teaching themselves.
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Research calls for teachers to integrate students’ funds of knowledge to bridge the gap between students’ lived experiences with that of learning science – that is, to make science relevant for students. Based on this critical practice, this exploratory study focuses on how pre-service science teachers integrate relevance, specifically students’ funds of knowledge, within the lessons they intend to implement. Drawing on the literature, this study developed a coding scheme to identify the ways in which pre-service teachers (PSTs) attempted to make science relevant to students. We distinguished between constructed relevance (i.e. relevance that does not consider students’ funds of knowledge) and relevance that drew on students’ funds of knowledge. Findings indicated that 48% of lessons contained some aspect of attending to students’ funds of knowledge highlighting that pre-service science teachers understand the need to make science relevant to students beyond constructed relevance. However, lessons that did attend to funds of knowledge, were most often done through attending to how students understand how knowledge is constructed. Across PSTs, there was a significant difference in the use of relevance over time during the semester. Findings indicated productive beginnings in PSTs’ orientations to funds of knowledge without explicit instruction in this area.
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School science continues to alienate students identifying with nondominant, non-western cultures, and learners of color, and considers science as an enterprise where success necessitates divorcing the self and corporeal body from ideas and the mind. Resisting the colonizing pedagogy of the mind–body divide, we aimed at creating pedagogical spaces and places in science classes that sustain equitable opportunities for engagement and meaning making where body and mind are enmeshed. In the context of a partnership between school- and university-based educators and researchers, we explored how multimodal literacies cultivated through the performing arts, provide students from minoritized communities opportunities to both create knowledge and to position themselves as science experts and brilliant and creative meaning makers. Four theoretical perspectives (social semiotics and multimodality; dramatizing and the embodied mind; dismantling master narratives for minoritized peoples; and the relationship of knowledge production and identity construction) framed this multiple case study of classes of elementary and middle school students who made sense of and communicated science concepts and practices through embodied performances. The study provided evidence that embodied science representations afford students abundant opportunities to construct science knowledge and positionings that support engagement with science, whether performed on a small scale in classrooms, or for the whole school through a large-scale science play. Embodied dramatizing led to opportunities for collective meaning making as student-performers coordinated across various movements and modes in order to represent ideas. Multiple enactments of the same concept nurtured the development of multi-dimensional scientific, sociocultural, and sociopolitical meanings. During embodiments, students positioned themselves and others in ways that allowed expanded science identities to become possible, intertwined with other salient identities. By treating children's bodies as sites of knowledge, imagination, and expertise, integrating performing arts and science has the potential to facilitate the development of connections among ideas and between self and ideas.
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As guidelines for teacher practice, standards and benchmarks serve a strong normative purpose that can work counter to goals of equity and justice. In this project we applied queer theory's critique of normativity and concepts from queer pedagogy to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Using a collaborative qualitative approach, our research team explored and document how pre-service and practicing teachers addressed issues of learning modality, selection of diverse sources and texts, and applied the meanings of "queer" to suggest ways to disrupt traditional structures and modes of communication, in addition to including LGBTQ identities and gender and sexual diversity in their classes. We propose that queering the standards is an approach that acknowledges the material constraints that shape and characterize K-12 schools in the U.S., while also opening opportunities for teachers to engage in the crucial, intense, and necessary work to make schools sites that create rather than foreclose possibility.
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Science textbooks, as one of the main tools for school science education, contain knowledge and practices valued by Western epistemological culture. As those who (will) live in a world expanding from the westernized to the multicultural, students, regardless of their cultural/ethnic backgrounds, should be supported to critically understand and use science. This study, using Whiteness as a conceptual tool, examine whether and how textbooks present science in ways to support Korean students’ critical and cultural understanding of science discipline. Drawing on an exploratory content analysis of four kinds of Korean middle-school science textbooks, I identified and discussed three features of the textbooks’ presentation of science: 1) scientific phenomena relevant to Korean students’ lives; 2) English prevalence in scientific conceptualization; and 3) epistemic Whiteness. Collectively considering these features, I inferred Whiteness assumption underlying the textbook discourse. Implications were offered for classroom-science teaching and teacher education in South Korea.
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This paper uses a hybrid policy analysis lens primarily informed by the work of Derrick Bell to make the case that policies and reforms in mathematics education were not designed to address the needs of historically excluded learners; instead, these policies and reforms are often designed and enacted to protect the economic, technological, and social interests of those in power. The paper offers contrasting narratives between policy intentions and policy enactment, highlighting how the language of mathematics education policies enacted by educational professionals marginalized learners within their cultures, families, and communities.
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Although science is practiced globally, science is historically a field dominated by white people. In response, science education has worked to increase equity in science by examining and transforming science learning environments. However, lacking within this work is a direct examination of whiteness. By engaging in autoethnographic storytelling, I leverage critical whiteness studies and the history of science in order to explicate the relationship between white supremacy and science by examining my experiences as a white man in university science labs.
Article
This study examines the development of secondary preservice science teachers’ (PSTs’) sociopolitical understandings in the context of a yearlong, masters-level, justice-oriented teacher education program. It articulates a theoretical perspective regarding teachers’ conceptions of the work-of-teaching in terms of pedagogical and disciplinary commitments. These conceptions are ideological links between classroom practices and teachers’ understanding of the sociopolitical context of their work. Teachers’ conceptions include how they view their and their students’ agency to gain access to enabling structures or dissent against oppressive structures that contribute to inequity in science education. The embedded case study design with 10 PSTs draws on various data sources from three time periods, and several types of experiences, in the teacher education program. A focus on four cases illustrates how PSTs rearticulated ideological committments in ways that have direct implications for the development of their practice and also connections to the content areas they teach. One case reinforces that teachers may begin to reject deficit views and embrace their agency by learning about the ways in which racism structures society. Another case shows how PSTs’ political clarity may be pushed in the direction of understanding multiple forms of oppression as structural. Together, the four cases illuminate an ideological component to content area teaching, or content area considerations in teachers’ ideological committments. Science teachers may develop sophisticated views of their work by analyzing their disciplines and curriculum as structures that are subject to the same critiques levied against other social structures. While PSTs did not feel that justice-centered pedagogies were within their full reach at the end of the program, they moved from aiming to demonstrate to students the utility, value, and importance of content areas toward exploring the relevance of the content areas with students.
Article
As the scientific and technological divide widens, access to quality science instruction has become a civil rights issue: those equipped with the knowledge and skill will remain caretakers of status and power. This inequality is especially salient for students in marginalized communities and schools where stereotypes fuel low expectations for academic achievement and success. For many students the classroom represents their earliest formal experience with both the content and process of science, placing science teachers in a unique and precarious position: getting students excited and engaged about science while simultaneously preparing the next generation of STEM professionals. We offer the (W)holistic Science Pedagogy (WSP), a student-centered approach of instruction to disrupt patterns and hierarchies. The WSP approach requires 5 commitments from the teacher: A commitment (1) to an ever-developing self-awareness, (2) to science and its practices, (3) to science as a transformative agent, (4) to their students’ social emotional wellness, and (5) to restorative practices. In this article, we define the 5 commitments and present an example lesson that reflects the commitments.
Chapter
One of the aims of western science as a social enterprise is the promotion of scientific literacy, equity and social justice. However, scientific practice, starting from the Enlightenment Period of the seventeenth Century, has not been fulfilling that mandate. No doubt, science has brought about an unprecedented socioeconomic development in many countries. At the same time it has also been used by Western Imperial Powers as a weapon of oppression and mass dislocation of millions of people around the world. It has even been used to justify such atrocities as the Slave Trade, colonialism, apartheid and racism. In light of this, the African philosophy of ubuntu is proposed in this chapter as a palliative to moderate the excesses of scientific practice. In other words, ubuntu has the potential to tame scientific practice in a way that it promotes human virtues such as humanness, communalism, interdependence, equity, social justice, and moral responsibility not only within the scientific community of practice but the society at large. It was in the same vein that the new Department of Education (DOE) in South Africa implemented a series of curriculum reforms aimed at making science socially and contextually relevant to the life worlds of all students regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.
Article
Heterogeneity is fundamental to learning and when leveraged in instruction, can benefit racially minoritized children. However, finding ways to leverage heterogeneity toward disciplinary teaching is a formidable challenge and teachers can benefit from targeted support to recognize heterogeneity in STEM, and its relationship to race and racism in disciplinary teaching. These data draw from a nine-day professional development seminar for secondary teachers to promote heterogeneity in STEM learning (n = 12). Drawing on analyses of lesson plans developed by teachers during the seminar, and subsequent video analyses of small group discussions, we present a case of four teachers debating heterogeneity in science. The exchange is significant because it draws into relief the ideological and emotional terrain of disturbing the racial hierarchy in which Western Modern Science (WMS) is steeped, and its implications for the education of racially minoritized youth. In the focus interaction, a dynamic emerged where three teachers exalted WMS, while the fourth grappled with how cultural heterogeneity has or could matter to her science teaching. Drawing on the constructs of racial-ideological micro-contestation and racial microaggressions, this analysis illustrates three important dimensions to the design of professional learning for STEM teachers that center race: (1) how discipline-specific discussions can uniquely surface the latent racial and ideological meanings teachers associate with STEM; (2) the centrality of teachers’ storied knowledge in grappling with heterogeneity; and (3) the interplay of micro-contestation and microaggressions in understanding and anticipating the experiences of minoritized teachers when debating issues of race, disciplinarity, and teaching.
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In this article, the authors draw on their experience in an international, cross-cultural visit to ponder similarities and differences in educational systems in both the USA and Kenya. During the visit, one feature of Kenyan society that stood out and became a frequent topic of discussion was the existence of the Jua Kali. Presenting their ponderings through the metaphor of windows and mirrors, the authors use the Jua Kali to (a) muse about the impact of school structure and science curriculum on Kenyan society and (b) reflect on the impact of school structure and science curriculum on US society. Through these muses and reflections, the authors suggest that science curriculum in the USA is structured to be irrelevant and inefficient, and it does not yield the results that it promises. The authors conclude by drawing from the history of the science, technology, and society movement to advocate for small-scale, local reform efforts.
Article
We explored how arts‐based practices, specifically what we define as ethnodance informs the study of science identity. We present a theoretical argument supported by an empirical illustration of how ethnodance offers Black youth with dance identities a medium to narrate evolving science identities, communicating meanings, interactions, and emotions, and to construct identities further as reified artifacts of participating in science classroom communities. The theoretical argument frames dance as an embodied narrative, identity construction as an ongoing process with interactional and affective commitments, and Black Dances as venues of Black bodies’ expressivity of the brilliance, competence, and creativity of Black people. The empirical illustration focuses on Black students in an urban high school choreographing a dance performance to capture their science identity construction transitioning from biology and moving through physics. The students’ semiotic choices communicated the experienced (dis)connection between self and science; ballet, lyrical, and contemporary dances represented experiences challenging their position within science, and a Black Dance, majorette, experiences affirming their place or creating a bridge. Majorette offered students a sense of cultural solidarity, symbolic of their collective overcoming of obstacles faced, frustration, and alienation felt at the beginning of physics, and joy of rising above the struggle.
Article
The underrepresentation of high school students of color in advanced science courses and the need to increase racial diversity in science fields is well documented. The persistence of racial disparities in science suggests that factors influencing participation include and extend beyond those currently being explored. This study explores how high school students of color make sense of racialized narratives about who does and can do science in circulation in society and their lives, and how this shapes their positioning and identity construction in science. Using interviews and surveys this study examines youths' accounts of their racialized science experiences, including how they envision scientists, make sense of racial disparities in the science community, and navigate their positioning in science. In addition, this study examines how youths' sense of their science ability, as a salient aspect of science identity, shapes the forms of navigation accessible to them, and thus, the futures they imagine in science. By sharing the complexity of students' sense making and the tensions they express as they negotiate their personal goals, science experiences, and messages they receive from racialized narratives, findings highlight the disproportionate work youth of color in this study do, as well as their resilience to navigate racialized narratives in science. This research sheds light on the experiences of high school students of color at a time in their schooling when they are making decisions about who they can become and the possible futures available to them. Implications from this study promote centering race within a critical, sociocultural, and ecological context when exploring identity construction for youth of color in science. Furthermore, findings underscore the need to create learning experiences that provide opportunities for youth of color to author narratives for their own possibilities of belonging and becoming in science in order to support inclusive pathways.
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This article presents a case study of “the aspirin unit,” a curriculum unit from an advanced chemistry class in a neighborhood high school in a large US city. The extended case method is applied to analyze this curriculum within the larger US political context that criminalizes youth of color. Data sources include retrospective interviews with students, student work, and the teacher-researcher’s archival records. There is evidence that this unit was meaningful to students, effectively framed opportunities for them to learn canonical science, and prompted them to consider the sociopolitical implications of their science education. There is also evidence that there was ample room for improvement in the aspirin unit. This article brings justice-centered science pedagogy into conversation with sociotransformative constructivism to identify some of these possibilities. This study implies that addressing inequity in science education requires confronting the latent politics in the curriculum and broader context.
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Is science an invention of European thought, or have legitimate scientific bodies of knowledge and scientific ways of thinking emerged separately in other cultures? Can indigenous knowledge systems contribute to contemporary science teaching? Here we describe evidence from the Yupiaq culture in southwestern Alaska which demonstrates a body of scientific knowledge and epistemology that differs from that of Western science. We contend that drawing from Yupiaq culture, knowledge, and epistemology can provide not only a more culturally relevant frame of reference for teaching science concepts to Yupiaq students, but also a potentially valuable context for more effectively addressing many of the recommendations of U.S. science education reform initiatives. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 35: 133–144, 1998.
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This chapter discusses the politics of land distribution and race relations is Southern Africa, with a particular focus on the experiences of the former settler colonial states of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. It examines how inequitable land relations have contributed to intensified race-based conflicts in the southern African region and shaped specific demands for land redistribution and land reform policies. The chapter relies on detailed case study evidence from Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa and Namibia, and implicitly assesses their implications for the entire southern Africa.
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People are purposive, intentional beings. People are creatures of habit and yet full of surprises. People can be quite unpredictable. For these reasons and many others, it is difficult to come to know people in the sense of having a causal understanding of human behavior, which was the modernist project in education. At least this cannot be done as scientists do with moving objects such as particle or projectile motion, for example, or even with the behavior of non-human animal species. What a person can do that an object cannot is to tell you about him or herself, thus helping you to get to know this person. This is of course a different kind of knowing and it suggests that getting to know a broad range of people provides an educator with exemplars of what people in general are like. “Interpretive researchers,” noted Cobern (1993a, p. 936), “do not expect that the procedures of experimental natural science can ever be used to produce general laws of education. Rather, one must come to a greater understanding of what meaning is and how it is created. Similarly, the classroom environment is not to be composed of causal variables which the teacher manipulates to foster learning, but an environment mutually shaped to fit the members of the classroom, both teacher and students.” My research takes it thus as axiomatic that the more educators know about students as people the better educators will be able to teach people as students in their classrooms. Among others, Fenstermacher (1979), Hawkins and Pea (1987), Lythcott (1991), and Shymansky and Kyle (1992) have espoused similar views.
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Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and longitudinal data from the first three waves of the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88), we examined achievement and growth rates in precollege science by racial–ethnic and gender subgroups. We found socioeconomic status and previous grades strongly and positively related to students’ eighth-grade achievement across all racial–ethnic by gender subgroups. We also found locus-of-control to be strongly related to eighth-grade science achievement for all subgroups except Asian American males. In modeling the growth rate, we found that the quantity of science units completed in high school was the only consistent predictor of science growth rates across all racial–ethnic by gender subgroups. The relationships between individual-level factors and science growth rates differed greatly for the remaining individual-level variables, highlighting the need for further research that both disaggregates data by race–ethnicity and gender.
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It is well documented that African Americans have been disproportionately underrepresented in science and science-related careers for over two decades. However, although there have been great efforts to address the problem through policy and intervention efforts, our research-grounded understanding of underrepresentation has not kept pace. This article provides an overview of empirical studies aimed at extending knowledge on the underrepresentation of African Americans, with the goal of providing a critical overview of this literature. Empirical studies are reviewed as well as explanations garnered from related literature that offer insight into potential causes of underrepresentation. The article concludes by identifying five salient limitations of existing literature. These limitations are the low number of empirical reports, the preponderance of poorly defined factors related to career decisions, uniformity in theoretical and methodological approaches, the tendency to equate career attainment with career choice, and the lack of an explanatory model for racial disparity.
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The mathematics success of African American male adolescents has been given limited attention. Most often, African American males are viewed in terms of their failure as opposed to their success. This tendency to focus almost exclusively on African American failure is a debilitating feature of extant literature and it constrains our understanding of African American mathematics achievement. Malik Williams is one case that stands in opposition to the norm. Realizing the importance of advanced mathematics to his college and career goals, Malik petitioned his principal to have a Pre-Calculus/Calculus course offered at his school. This article documents the story of Malik's success and in so doing, identifies key themes that inform current understanding of the mathematics achievement and career attainment of African American male students.
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The purpose of this paper is to report our findings from a qualitative study intended to develop our understandings of: what high-poverty urban children understand and believe about food and food systems; and how such children transform and use that knowledge in their everyday lives (i.e. how do they express their scientific literacies including content understandings, process understandings, habits of mind in these content areas). This qualitative study is part of a larger study focused on understanding and developing science and nutritional literacies among high-poverty urban fourth-grade through sixth-grade students and their teachers and caregivers.
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How should we think about the interrelationships that obtain among Philosophy, Education, and Culture? In this paper I explore the contours of one such interrelationship: namely, the way in which educational and (other) philosophical ideals transcend individual cultures. I do so by considering the contemporary educational and philosophical commitment to multiculturalism. Consideration of multiculturalism, I argue, reveals important aspects of the character of both educational and philosophical ideals.
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Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans have long been underrepresented in schools and the workplace in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Although the monitoring of representation has become a larger and more important enterprise, existing databases make it difficult to discern trends in participation at different stages of science education as well as the magnitude of the differences in representation across racial/ethnic groups. We reanalyze four nationally representative databases to call attention to the difficulties, and we offer a solution—a ratio of representation. Our investigation of the representation of students in the biological sciences indicates that gains in the percentages of non-Asian minorities in the biological sciences over almost two decades do not exceed their growth in the U.S. population and, furthermore, that their underrepresentation appears to increase as they move through higher education. We call for the development of multiple measures of representation in the sciences, given the complexities of representing representation and the issue's importance for science, public health, and the American polity. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93:961–977, 2009
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In this article, Donaldo Macedo presents a provocative critique of the current educational system and challenges educators to examine potentially dangerous educational practices that privilege specialization while ignoring the need to make linkages using critical literacy. Recent events such as the Gulf War and the first Rodney King verdict are presented as compelling evidence that, without the ability to read the word and the world critically, Americans are subject to political manipulation. Macedo links this current political climate to the state of many of our nation's schools, which operate under a pedagogy that perpetuates the inability to think critically.
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Much more than a "how-to/activities" book, this textbook gives students a strong background in the conceptual, theoretical, and philosophical issues in multicultural education. Cultural Diversity and Education is designed to help pre-service and in-service educators clarify the philosophical and definitional issues related to pluralistic education, derive a philosophical position, design and implement effective teaching strategies that reflect ethnic and cultural diversity, and prepare sound guidelines for multicultural programs and practices. This book describes actions that educators can take to institutionalize educational programs and practices related to ethnic and cultural diversity. The scope of this edition has been broadened to include a focus on gender, disability, and giftedness. The significant changes that were made in this edition necessitated that the title be changed. Multiethnic Education: Theory and Practice, the title of this book for its three previous editions, no longer accurately describes its contents. Consequently, the title of the book was changed to better reflect the broader coverage of its content. For pre-service and in-service teachers, and anyone interested in educational diversity.
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In order to compete in the modern world, any society today must rank education in science, mathematics, and technology as one of its highest priorities. It's a sad but true fact, however, that most Americans are not scientifically literate. International studies of educational performance reveal that U.S. students consistently rank near the bottom in science and mathematics. The latest study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has found that despite some small gains recently, the average performance of seventeen-year-olds in 1986 remained substantially lower than it had been in 1969. As the world approaches the twenty-first century, American schools--when it comes to the advancement of scientific knowledge--seem to be stuck in the Victorian age. In Science for All Americans , F. James Rutherford and Andrew Ahlgren brilliantly tackle this devastating problem. Based on Project 2061, a scientific literacy initiative sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this wide-ranging, important volume explores what constitutes scientific literacy in a modern society; the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all students should acquire from their total school experience from kindergarten through high school; and what steps this country must take to begin reforming its system of education in science, mathematics, and technology. Science for All Americans describes the scientifically literate person as one who knows that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent enterprises with strengths and limitations; who understands key concepts and principles of science; who recognizes both the diversity and unity of the natural world; and who uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for personal and social purposes. Its recommendations for educational reform downplay traditional subject categories and instead highlight the connections between them. It also emphasizes ideas and thinking skills over the memorization of specialized vocabulary. For instance, basic scientific literacy means knowing that the chief function of living cells is assembling protein molecules according to the instructions coded in DNA molecules, but does not mean necessarily knowing the terms "ribosome" or "deoxyribonucleic acid." Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of the radical changes in the nature of human existence that will occur during the next life span; therefore, preparing today's children for tomorrow's world must entail a solid education in these areas. Science for All Americans will help pave the way for the necessary reforms in America's schools.
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This discussion focuses on an aspect of teacher education for diversity that is frequently mentioned but not developed in sufficient detail. It is preservice teachers’ and teacher educators’ attitudes and beliefs about racial, cultural, and ethnic differences.These are the ideological anchors of teaching decisions and behaviors and meet Cuban’s criteria of deep structures and second-order targets of educational reform.
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This paper focuses on the potential value of cultural myths in maintaining the notion of science for all through educational reform. Cultural myths are defined as networks of beliefs and values, and they have the potential of influencing science and science education. Not until recently did educators realize the importance of myths and their influence on the discourse of school science. Four different cultural myths are explored: (1) scientific literacy is a necessity for all U.S. students; (2) it is possible to have a universally shared vision of scientific literacy for all students; (3) females and minorities and science; and (4) current reform rhetoric calling for "science for all" reflects the swing of the proverbial education pendulum. (Contains 35 references.) (YDS)
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Marek Kohn Cape, £17.99, pp 322 ISBN 0 224 03958 XAt the turn of the century some of the most innovative ideas concerning the prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases and mental disabilities were formulated in eugenic and racial terms. As human genetics research and screening have advanced, questions of ethnicity, race, and disease continue to haunt modern medicine.Attention has shifted from external physical appearance to chromosomes and genes, and most recently to the molecular level, but ideas of some type of racial essence or identity have persisted, and the Human Genome Project has wisely included a built-in ethical component. Other scientists adhere to long discredited notions: some schools of anthropology in eastern Europe seem like remote tribes cut …
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The purpose of this study was to compare the worldview of Native American students of the Traditional Kickapoo Band with the worldview encountered in the science classroom. The qualitative study investigated the worldview expressed in science instruction by conducting periodic observations in two classrooms over an 18-month period, teacher interviews, and text evaluations. StudentsÕ worldviews were investigated during individual and group interviews, classroom observations, science activities, and social interaction. Twenty-eight Kickapoo students, two teachers, and eight nonteaching members of the community participated in the study. Adult members of the Kickapoo Band were interviewed and asked to reflect on the educational and cultural norms of the students. A variable-oriented analysis revealed differences in epistemology, preferred methods of teaching/learning, values, spatial/temporal orientation, cultural rules for behavior, and perspective of the place of humans in the natural world. The study revealed significant worldview differences, none of which would prevent Kickapoo students from being full participants in the scientific community, but many of which may be preventing them from being successful in the science classroom. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 35: 111–132, 1998.
Article
A perennial challenge for urban education in the United States is finding effective ways to address the academic achievement gap between African American and White students. There is widespread and justified concern about the persistence of this achievement gap. In fact, historical evidence suggests that this achievement gap has existed at various times for groups other than African Americans. What conditions prevailed when this achievement gap existed for these other groups? Conversely, under what conditions did the gap diminish and eventually disappear for these groups? This article explores how sociocultural factors involved in the manifestation and eventual disappearance of the gap for these groups may shed some light on how to address the achievement gap for African American students in urban science classrooms. Our conclusion is that the sociocultural position of groups is crucial to understanding and interpreting the scholastic performance of students from various backgrounds. We argue for a research framework and the exploration of research questions incorporating insights from Ogbu's cultural, ecological theory, as well as goal theory, and identity theory. We present these as theories that essentially focus on student responses to societal disparities. Our ultimate goal is to define the problem more clearly and contribute to the development of research-based classroom practices that will be effective in reducing and eventually eliminating the achievement gap. We identify the many gaps in society and the schools that need to be addressed in order to find effective solutions to the problem of the achievement gap. Finally, we propose that by understanding the genesis of the gap and developing strategies to harness the students' responses to societal disparities, learning can be maximized and the achievement gap can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated entirely, in urban science classrooms.
Article
Teaching in urban schools, with their problems of violence, lack of resources, and inadequate funding, is difficult. It is even more difficult to learn to teach in urban schools. Yet learning in those locations where one will subsequently be working has been shown to be the best preparation for teaching. In this article we propose coteaching as a viable model for teacher preparation and the professional development of urban science teachers. Coteaching—working at the elbow of someone else—allows new teachers to experience appropriate and timely action by providing them with shared experiences that become the topic of their professional conversations with other coteachers (including peers, the cooperating teacher, university supervisors, and high school students). This article also includes an ethnography describing the experiences of a new teacher who had been assigned to an urban high school as field experience, during which she enacted a curriculum that was culturally relevant to her African American students, acknowledged their minority status with respect to science, and enabled them to pursue the school district standards. Even though coteaching enables learning to teach and curricula reform, we raise doubts about whether our approaches to teacher education and enacting science curricula are hegemonic and oppressive to the students we seek to emancipate through education. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 941–964, 2001
Article
Is science an invention of European thought, or have legitimate scientific bodies of knowledge and scientific ways of thinking emerged separately in other cultures? Can indigenous knowledge systems contribute to contemporary science teaching? Here we describe evidence from the Yupiaq culture in southwestern Alaska which demonstrates a body of scientific knowledge and epistemology that differs from that of Western science. We contend that drawing from Yupiaq culture, knowledge, and epistemology can provide not only a more culturally relevant frame of reference for teaching science concepts to Yupiaq students, but also a potentially valuable context for more effectively addressing many of the recommendations of U.S. science education reform initiatives. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 35: 133–144, 1998.