Culturally Responsive, Affective-Focused Teaching of Science and Mathematics

This project will provide a field-based science and mathematics teacher education program that supports teaching focused on students’ affective development through culturally responsive practices. The project's teacher education program takes place over a two-year period and models how culturally responsive and affective instruction can occur in the STEM classroom to engage students.

Full Description: 

Students and professionals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. Broadening participation in STEM requires a change in how K-12 STEM teachers engage and educate students who identify as BIPOC. Research has demonstrated that cultural and social justice connections can lead to positive academic outcomes for students who identify as BIPOC in science and mathematics. This project will provide a field-based science and mathematics teacher education program that supports teaching focused on students’ affective development through culturally responsive practices. In this project, affective development is defined by students’ abilities to incorporate their science and mathematics learning into their own unique personal value systems. The project's field-based teacher education program takes place over a two-year period and models how culturally responsive and affective instruction can occur in the STEM classroom to engage students. The project participants include 48 secondary science and mathematics teachers who work with about 5300 students in a district with some of the most persistent and pronounced educational equity issues in the state of Florida. The associated research will have implications for theory and practice that can be extended to improve STEM educator development in schools and districts throughout the country. This aligns with NSF’s commitment to advancing K-12 student and teacher learning in the STEM disciplines through research-based design and development of innovative models.

Using design-based implementation research, this project will accomplish the following objectives: (1) transform the practices of a district-wide set of 48 secondary science and mathematics teachers by equipping them with culturally responsive, affective-focused practices and leadership skills; (2) construct tools and resources that will serve as open-access professional development materials shared widely via learning management tools; and (3) develop an evidence-based and adaptable theory of change to share widely with the STEM education community. The research plan draws on both qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the experiences and changes of science and mathematics teachers and their students as they experience continuously refined versions of the teacher education model. In particular, this project focuses on studying teacher and student outcomes, including teachers’ culturally responsive, affective-focused practices and self-efficacy, their understanding of student values and cultural backgrounds, and their attitudes toward cultural diversity; growth in students’ affective development and STEM achievement, their interest in STEM careers, and STEM identity development. Answers to the research questions will provide empirically-driven means for developing both the practical tools and the theoretical models of change toward STEM teacher transformation and positive impacts for students who identify as BIPOC.

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