Despite recent interest and pressing need, we lack a clear model of culturally relevant, responsive, sensitive teaching in university STEM departments. Most culturally relevant efforts within STEM education address actions individual professors can take within their own classrooms and mentoring, rather than describing how to go about enacting cultural transformation at the departmental level. In this article, we propose the application of the Ladson-Billings model of culturally relevant pedagogy to promote an inclusive culture within undergraduate STEM departments. The model consists of three components: academic success, cultural competence and integrity, and critical consciousness. We define each component and describe what it looks like and how it can be used to guide departmental transformation, including examples in biology, physics, mathematics, and computer science departments at our own institution. This model can help guide faculty committed to creating departments where all kinds of STEM students can thrive, provided they are willing to work hard.
This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2023
The role of epistemological beliefs in STEM faculty’s decisions to use culturally relevant pedagogy at Hispanic-Serving Institutions
Abstract Background The growing understanding of the oppressive inequities that exist in postsecondary education has led to an increasing need for culturally relevant pedagogy. Researchers have found evidence that beliefs about the nature of knowledge predict pedagogical practices. Culturally relevant pedagogy supports students in ways that leverage students’ own cultures through three tenets: academic success, cultural competence, and sociopolitical consciousness. If STEM practitioners believe that their disciplines are culture-free, they may not enact culturally relevant pedagogy in their courses. We investigated how and in what forms 40 faculty from mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology departments at Hispanic-Serving Institutions enacted culturally relevant pedagogy. We used the framework of practical rationality to understand how epistemological beliefs about the nature of their discipline combined with their institutional context impacted instructors’ decision to enact practices aligning with the three tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy. Results In total, 35 instructors reported using practices that aligned with the academic success tenet, nine instructors with the cultural competence tenet, and one instructor with the sociopolitical consciousness tenet. Instructors expressed and even lauded their disciplines’ separation from culture while simultaneously expressing instructional decisions that aligned with culturally relevant pedagogy. Though never asked directly, six instructors made statements reflecting more »
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- International Journal of STEM Education
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- National Science Foundation
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