Date of Graduation

12-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Stephen Burgin

Committee Member

Christian Goering

Second Committee Member

Cathy Wissehr

Keywords

critical race theory, cultural competency, culturally responsive teaching, deficit lens rejection, in-service teachers, pedagogical strategies, science lessons, teaching

Abstract

First, a meta-analysis of Culturally Responsive (CR) science teaching characteristics and practices was conducted. Findings revealed that there are a limited number of CR teaching studies at the elementary science level. When studies conducted at the middle, secondary and postsecondary level were included, six themes which encompassed the characteristics and pedagogical practices of effective CR science teachers and teacher development emerged. These themes were academics, cultural competency, social inequities, CR learning environment, rejection of the deficit lens and pedagogical strategies.

Next, the impact of curriculum and practices designed to reflect these six themes on preservice elementary science teachers was explored. I used the six themes to build and implement the science methods course for preservice elementary teachers. Findings revealed that although the preservice elementary teachers acknowledged all six themes, full implementation within the field may require the methods course to be closely aligned with the field experience. This study also provided insight into the preservice elementary science teachers’ discomfort with the science content as an obstacle and the limitations of class discussions to drive change within practices.

When the findings in the meta-analysis and preservice science methods course were combined, Chapter 4 was written to provide practicing elementary science teachers with a procedural guide to create and implement CR science lessons in their classrooms. The chapter included an explanation of each step along with an example and resources. A sample sixth-grade science lesson plan, which demonstrated the use of current events as the connection to the science content, was also included.

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