Malone, K. R., & Barabino, G. (2009). Narrations of race in STEM research settings: Identity formation and its discontents. Science Education, 93(3), 485–510.
This study investigates specific challenges that students of color have in developing a personal identity related to science. The researchers examined how experiences in graduate school programs shaped the emergent identities of African-American women students in science and engineering. The study sheds light on the barriers cultural minority students might face in their pursuit of science in school and in careers, and suggests that educators might help to prepare students for these experiences.
Medin, D. L., & Bang, M. (2014). The cultural side of science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 13621–13626. doi:10.1073/pnas.1317510111
What do images communicate about humans’ place in nature? Medin and Bang posit that the artifacts used to communicate science—including words, photographs, and illustrations—commonly reflect the cultural orientations of their creators. The authors argue that Native Americans traditionally see themselves as part of nature and focus on ecological relationships, while European Americans perceive themselves as outside of nature and think in terms of taxonomic relationships.
Bouillion, L. M., & Gomez, L. M. (2001). Connecting school and community with science learning: Real world problems and school-community partnerships as contextual scaffolds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(8), 878–898. doi:10.1002/tea.1037
To improve science education for culturally and linguistically diverse students, schools and communities can create “mutual benefit partnerships” to identify and address local problems. Through the example of the Chicago River Project, Bouillion and Gomez illustrate how such partnerships can connect formal learning contexts with the rich ways communities experience science outside of school.
Tran, N. A. (2011). The relationship between students’ connections to out-of-school experiences and factors associated with science learning. International Journal of Science Education, 33(12), 1625-1651.
How do students make connections between in-school and out-of school contexts? In this study involving the analysis of questionnaire responses of 1014 11th and 12th graders, the author found that out-of-school experiences are positively associated with the learning outcomes of science learning achievement, science interest, and self-efficacy. However, the analysis also showed that connections made by teachers to out-of-school experiences negatively correlated with student achievement.
Xu, J., Coats, L., & Davidson, M. (2012). Promoting student interest in science: The perspectives of exemplary African American teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 124–154.
This study investigated what exemplary African American science teachers do to develop interest in science among low-income African American elementary students. The researchers found three interrelated approaches:
1) Having a genuine interest—in science, in teaching, and in students’ lives
2) Scaffolding students’ interest in science
3) Offering multiple standpoints—many ways for students to engage
Nasir, N. S., & Hand, V. (2008). From the court to the classroom: Opportunities for engagement, learning, and identity in basketball and classroom mathematics. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17(2), 143–179. doi:10.1080/10508400801986108
This article discusses the potential for learner engagement in the contexts of a basketball team and a mathematics classroom. The qualitative analysis centers on three aspects of each context: access to the domain, the integral roles available to learners, and opportunities for self-expression.
Johnson, C. C. (2011). The road to culturally relevant science: Exploring how teachers navigate change in pedagogy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 170–198.
This article reports on a case study of two middle school science teachers who took part in professional development designed to help them enact culturally relevant pedagogy in their classrooms. The long-term and community-oriented aspects of the professional development seemed to play a vital role in supporting the teachers’ success.
Polman, J. L., Newman, A., Saul, E. W., & Farrar, C. (2014). Adapting practices of science journalism to foster science literacy. Science Education, 98(5), 766–791
Polman, Newman, Saul, and Farrar reflect on six years of work with a science journalism program for teens that fosters a version of science literacy centered on developing fluency in the application and use of science in personal life.
Kumpulainen, K., & Sefton-Green, J. (2012). What is connected learning and how to research it? International Journal of Learning and Media, 4(2), 7–18. doi:10.1162/IJLM_a_00091
Today’s standardized testing methods are too narrow for measuring 21st-century learning that occurs across time and diverse social contexts, from formal to informal and embodied to virtual. This paper uses the concept of “connected learning” to illustrate what 21st-century education involves; it then describes research methods for documenting this learning.
Nasir , N. S., Rosebery , A. S., Warren, B., & Lee, C. D . (2006). Learning as a cultural process: Achieving equity through diversity. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 489–504). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
To create more equitable learning opportunities for students from marginalized communities, educators can design learning experiences that help young people connect their everyday interests and knowledge to academic content. Nasir et al. synthesized research on how students use sophisticated math in everyday practices like discussing basketball, playing dominoes, and selling candy. Then they explain how learning improves when varied student experiences are made relevant in informal and formal learning environments.