- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- 2021 NARST International Meeting
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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The way high school chemistry curricula are structured has the potential to convey consequential messages about knowledge and knowing to students and teachers. If a curriculum is built around practicing skills and recalling facts to reach “correct” answers, it is unlikely class activities will be seen (by students or the teacher) as opportunities to figure out causes for phenomena. Our team of teachers and researchers is working to understand how enactment of transformed curricular materials can support high school chemistry students in making sense of perplexing, relatable phenomena. Given this goal, we were surprised to see that co-developers who enacted our materials overwhelmingly emphasized the importance of acquiring true facts/skills when writing weekly reflections. Recognition that teachers’ expressed aims did not align with our stated goal of “supporting molecular-level sensemaking” led us to examine whether the tacit epistemological commitments reflected by our materials were, in fact, consistent with a course focused on figuring out phenomena. We described several aspects of each lesson in our two-semester curriculum including: the role of phenomena in lesson activities, the extent to which lessons were 3-dimensional, the role of student ideas in class dialogue, and who established coherence between lessons. Triangulation of these lesson features enabled us to infer messages about valued knowledge products and processes materials had the potential to send. We observed that our materials commonly encouraged students to mimic the structure of science practices for the purpose of being evaluated by the teacher. That is, students were asked to “go through the motions” of explaining, modeling etc. but had little agency regarding the sorts of models and explanations they found productive in their class community. This study serves to illustrate the importance of surfacing the tacit epistemological commitments that guide curriculum development. Additionally, it extends existing scholarship on epistemological messaging by considering curricular materials as a potentially consequential sources of messages.more » « less
This study explores the process of teacher scaffolding student engagement in epistemic tools from the critical sensemaking perspective. Epistemic tools are contextual artifacts manipulated to investigate and evaluate ideas to construct knowledge within the constraints of a disciplines' representational means. The main sources of our data are ~50 min‐long semistructured, responsive interviews with the 14 secondary school science teachers who participated in our professional learning environment (PLE) and implemented the activities from the PLE in their classrooms. We utilized the tools of discourse analysis to explore teacher sensemaking while they learned to teach science with epistemic tools. We then looked at intertextualities of meaning across multiple sets of data such as students' artifacts, pre/postsurveys, audio and video recordings of the workshops, and teachers' written implementation feedback forms. As a result, we recognized a pattern across different classrooms. Teachers would begin with a contextualized goal, and use a pedagogical strategy to scaffold their students as they worked to achieve that goal. Then, all teachers reported they faced some sort of ambiguity (such as grappling with failure, different levels of students). When faced with an ambiguity, teachers would then revise either their contextualized goal or their initial pedagogical strategy to help their students to reach their goals. Finally, we utilized constant‐comparative analysis to identify themes for teachers' contextualized goals. Four major themes emerged, including communicating connections to core ideas of science, making sense of how science works, assessing students' learning process outcomes, and fostering students' epistemic agency. The findings of the study have implications for future research and professional development activities on the use of epistemic practices and tools in classrooms with unique contextual characteristics.
In this proposal, we will share some initial findings about how teacher and student engagement in cogenerative dialogues influenced the development of the Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Guidelines for Computational Thinking and Computer Science (CRPG-CSCT). The CRPG-CSCT’s purpose is to provide computer science teachers with tools to enhance their instruction by accurately reflecting students’ diverse cultural resources in the classroom. Additionally, the CRPG-CSCT will provide guidance to non-computer science teachers on how to facilitate the integration of computational thinking skills to a broad spectrum of classes in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and mathematics. Our initial findings shared here are part of a larger NSF-funded research project (Award No. 2122367) which aims to better understand the barriers to entry and challenges for success faced by underrepresented secondary school students in computer science, through direct engagement with the students themselves. Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the researchers have been working with a small team of secondary school teachers, students, and instructional designers, as well as university faculty in computer science, secondary education, and sociology to develop the CRPG-CSCT. The CRPG-CSCT is rooted in the tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995) and borrows from Muhammad’s (2020) work in Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. The CRPG-CCT is being developed over six day-long workshops held throughout the academic year. At the time of this submission, five of the six workshops had been completed. Each workshop utilized cogenerative dialogues (cogens) as the primary tool for organizing and sustaining participants’ engagement. Through cogens, participants more deeply learn about students’ cultural capital and the value of utilizing that capital within the classroom (Roth, Lawless, & Tobin, 2000). The success of cogens relies on following specific protocols (Emdin, 2016), such as listening attentively, ensuring there are equal opportunities for all participants to share, and affirming the experiences of other participants. The goal of a cogen is to reach a collective decision, based on the dialogue, that will positively impact students by explicitly addressing barriers to their engagement in the classroom. During each workshop, one member of the research team and one undergraduate research assistant observed the interactions among cogen participants and documented these in the form of ethnographic field notes. Another undergraduate research assistant took detailed notes during the workshop to record the content of small and large group discussions, presentations, and questions/responses throughout the workshops. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the field notes. Additionally, at the conclusion of each workshop, participants completed a Cogen Feedback Survey (CFS) to gather additional information. The CFS were analyzed through open thematic coding, memos, and code frequencies. Our preliminary results demonstrate high levels of engagement from teacher and student participants during the workshops. Students identified that the cogen structure allowed them to participate comfortably, openly, and honestly. Further, students described feeling valued and heard. Students’ ideas and experiences were frequently affirmed, which served as an important step toward dismantling traditional teacher-student boundaries that might otherwise prevent them from sharing freely. Another result from the use of cogens was the shared experience of participants comprehending views from the other group’s perspective in the classroom. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn from teachers about their struggles in keeping students engaged. Teachers appreciated the opportunity to better understand students’ schooling experiences and how these may affirm or deny aspects of their identity. Finally, all participants shared meaningful suggestions and strategies for future workshops and for the collective betterment of the group. Initial findings shared here are important for several reasons. First, our findings suggest that cogens are an effective approach for fostering participants’ commitment to creating the conditions for students’ success in the classroom. Within the context of the workshops, cogens provided teachers, students, and faculty with opportunities to engage in authentic conversations for addressing the recruitment and retention problems in computer science for underrepresented students. These conversations often resulted in the development of tangible pedagogical approaches, examples, metaphors, and other strategies to directly address the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in computer science. Finally, while we are still developing the CRPG-CSCT, cogens provided us with the opportunity to ensure the voices of teachers and students are well represented in and central to the document.more » « less
Recent decades have seen a rapid acceleration in global participation in formal education, due to worldwide initiatives aimed to provide school access to all children. Research in high income countries has shown that school quality indicators have a significant, positive impact on numeracy and literacy—skills required to participate in the increasingly globalized economy. Schools vary enormously in kind, resources, and teacher training around the world, however, and the validity of using diverse school quality measures in populations with diverse educational profiles remains unclear. First, we assessed whether children's numeracy and literacy performance across populations improves with age, as evidence of general school‐related learning effects. Next, we examined whether several school quality measures related to classroom experience and composition, and to educational resources, were correlated with one another. Finally, we examined whether they were associated with children's (4–12‐year‐olds,
N= 889) numeracy and literacy performance in 10 culturally and geographically diverse populations which vary in historical engagement with formal schooling. Across populations, age was a strong positive predictor of academic achievement. Measures related to classroom experience and composition were correlated with one another, as were measures of access to educational resources and classroom experience and composition. The number of teachers per class and access to writing materials were key predictors of numeracy and literacy, while the number of students per classroom, often linked to academic achievement, was not. We discuss these results in the context of maximising children's learning environments and highlight study limitations to motivate future research. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
We examined the extent to which four measures of school quality were associated with one another, and whether they predicted children's academic achievement in 10 culturally and geographically diverse societies.
Across populations, measures related to classroom experience and composition were correlated with one another as were measures of access to educational resources to classroom experience and composition.
Age, the number of teachers per class, and access to writing materials were key predictors of academic achievement across populations.
Our data have implications for designing efficacious educational initiatives to improve school quality globally.
We investigate the factors that shape teachers’ implementation of a school STEM reform—the creation of a high-school makerspace. Educational reformers have increasing interest in making and makerspaces in schools. Prior research shows how factors shape reform at the classroom, school (organizational), and institutional levels, as well as across levels. However, most research on teachers tends to focus on classroom-level effects, which may not capture the full complexity of how they navigate multilevel reforms. We consider teachers’ decision-making from an ecological perspective to investigate what shapes their implementation efforts, using observational and interview data collected over 2 years in a large comprehensive high school.
We find teachers’ efforts are shaped by four “distances”—or spaces teachers traversed, physically and conceptually—related to skillsets and distributed expertise, physical space, disciplinary learning, and structural factors. The distances operate as a constellation of factors—independently identifiable, co-operatively manifesting—to shape implementation. We position teacher deliberations and decision-making as portals into the forms of organizational and institutional supports offered in multilevel reforms.
The paper contributes insights into makerspace implementation in schools, adding to the emerging literature on how making can transform STEM learning experiences for students. We conclude that teachers’ decision-making around multilevel implementations can inform our understanding of how makerspaces are implemented and their impact on students’ experiences, as well as how seeing teachers as multilevel actors can offer new insights into reform dynamics writ large. We offer implications for makerspaces in schools, as well as methodological and theoretical considerations for how organizations and institutions can better support teachers as agents of STEM reform.