Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Learning

Program/Concentration

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Sue C. Kimmel

Committee Member

Steven Myran

Committee Member

Stephen Burgin

Committee Member

Felicia M. Mensah

Abstract

Due to the rising diversity in today's schools, science teacher educators (STEs) suggest that K-12 teachers must be uniquely prepared to engage these students in science classrooms. Yet, in light of the increasing white-black science achievement gap, it is unclear how STEs prepare preservice teachers to engage diverse students, and African Americans in particular. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to find out how STEs prepare preservice teachers to engage African American students in K-12 science. Thus, using the culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) framework, this phenomenological case study explored beliefs about culturally relevant science teaching and the influence of reported beliefs and experiences related to race on STEs' teaching practices. In the first phase, STE's in a mid-Atlantic state were invited to participate in an electronic survey. In the second phase, four participants, who were identified as exemplars, were selected from the survey to participate in three semi-structured interviews. The data revealed that STEs were more familiar with culturally responsive pedagogy (CResP) in the context of their post-secondary classrooms as opposed to CRP. Further, most of the participants in part one and two described modeling conventional ways they prepare their preservice teachers to engage K-12 students, who represent all types of diversity, without singling out any specific race. Lastly, many of the STEs' in this study reported formative experiences related to race and beliefs in various manifestations of racism have impacted their teaching beliefs and practices. The findings of this study suggest STEs do not have a genuine understanding of the differences between CRP and CResP and by in large embrace CResP principles. Secondly, in regards to preparing preservice teachers to engage African American students in science, the participants in this study seemed to articulate the need for ideological change, but were unable to demonstrate pedagogical changes to address the needs of black students in science classrooms (Rodriguez, 1998). Thirdly, the findings suggested the participants' in the study generally reported early experiences related to race helped to shape their beliefs about race and their teaching beliefs and practices. Lastly, implications for science teacher educators, classroom teachers, and educational researchers are provided.

DOI

10.25777/b5gf-dt92

ISBN

9781339126371

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