Democratic science teaching:Building expertise to empower low-income minority youth in science <br />JhumkiBasu, Angela Ca...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Urban centers, 35-40% students in poverty<br />Urban schools – “culture of failure”...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Rationale for Tracking - use the developing field of cognitive understanding to det...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Consider the desire to view school as a tool toward promoting equality among the Am...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />“When a child’s’ worldview is left unvalued and expressionless in an educational se...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Where in their academic life, particularly in science, were the life histories of m...
Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />“What are the goals and purposes of public schools?”, <br />“What role does the tea...
Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />Democratic Science Teaching: describes le...
Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />STUDENT VOICE<br />captures the ideas tha...
Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />SHARED & TRANSFORMATIONAL AUTHORITY<br />...
Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />SHARED & TRANSFORMATIONAL AUTHORITY<br />...
Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />CRITCAL SCIENCE LITERACY<br />part of sci...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Urban school in NYC<br />belie...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Included students in discussio...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Student Feedback: <br />“One t...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Teacher Feedback: <br />“It ma...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />In Neil’s story, ...
Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />Looking at Neil’s...
Disinterested in science
Purposefully “acted dumb”</li></ul>End of 10th grade<br /><ul><li>Expert in Robotics
Robotics teacher
Ambition to join the military as an engineer to develop robots that will keep soldiers safe</li></ul>What took place to al...
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Democratic Science Teaching: Building Expertise to Empower Low-Income Minority Youth in Science

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by Jhumki Basu, Angela Calabrese Barton, Edna Tan
Presented by Eda Tan on July 26, 2010

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Democratic Science Teaching: Building Expertise to Empower Low-Income Minority Youth in Science

  1. 1. Democratic science teaching:Building expertise to empower low-income minority youth in science <br />JhumkiBasu, Angela Calabrese Barton, Edna Tan<br />
  2. 2. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Urban centers, 35-40% students in poverty<br />Urban schools – “culture of failure”, “pedagogy of poverty”<br />Urban schools – under-resourced, problematic students (labeled as “dunce, wrongdoer, sluggish, stupid, incorrigible, and idle”) <br />“All children are not born with the same endowments and possibilities: they cannot be made equal in gifts or development or efficiency…the educational system must therefore be adjusted to meet this condition” ( Superintendent of Schools, 1920)<br />
  3. 3. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Rationale for Tracking - use the developing field of cognitive understanding to determine who would study what, and ultimately begin to orchestrate who will have the opportunity to become what <br />Put nicely, we began to use aspects of cognition and assessment to remove those students who might slow or retard the progress of the normal student.<br />
  4. 4. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Consider the desire to view school as a tool toward promoting equality among the American public:<br />What do we mean by equal?<br />And who do we consider to be the citizenry?<br />Competition, meritocracy and individual accomplishment drive success in American public schools and frame the “democratic” way of life for American school childrenthese values are often in direct opposition to the cultural norms and capital that is most appreciated within the communities of urban students who are often children of color<br />
  5. 5. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />“When a child’s’ worldview is left unvalued and expressionless in an educational setting, what should we expect in terms of engagement, investment and learning from that child?”<br />“What are the goals and purposes of public schools?”, <br />“What role does the teaching and learning of science play in attaining those goals?” and finally,<br />“Are schools in poor urban areas designed, organized and allowed to function toward meeting those goals”?<br />
  6. 6. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />Where in their academic life, particularly in science, were the life histories of my students in Brooklyn valued?<br />Were any connections built between how science is traditionally taught and the farm on which one of my students grew up<br />Did the 8th grader who tapped his pencil and squirmed endlessly in science class ever get time and space to exhibit his aptitude for building?<br />And were these students told over and over, in what was formally said and offered to them, that they had the potential to learn science and be young scientists? Or instead, were they simply told to either adapt to the way science was taught or give up on their love of inquiry and knowledge? (from Jhumki’s journal)<br />
  7. 7. Why Democratic Science Teaching? <br />“What are the goals and purposes of public schools?”, <br />“What role does the teaching and learning of science play in attaining those goals?” and finally,<br />“Are schools in poor urban areas designed, organized and allowed to function toward meeting those goals”?<br />Discuss these questions in groups of 3-4, in the context of the schools that you are in. Be ready to share your thoughts with everyone in about 15 minutes. <br />
  8. 8. Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />Democratic Science Teaching: describes learning as a situated process shaped by the social, cultural, and political environment in which it takes place.<br />learning ought to be thought of as an ongoing process of participation and identity formation, in which learners acquire what is needed for participation in relevant communities of practice, while they construct what kind of people they are and what they aspire to be <br />Voice, Authority, Critical Science Literacy<br />
  9. 9. Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />STUDENT VOICE<br />captures the ideas that students’ opinions and ideas matter in both the perspective they hold and in the actions they take<br />youth gain empowerment through science by having opportunities to expand upon and embrace their embodied resources, e.g., deep knowledge of hip hop<br />students providing their experiences and ideas and dialoguing with teachers in order to set up new lines of thought and inquiry.<br />allow children to create their own meanings and become active authors of their worlds, demanding thus that students assume a proactive role in the planning, implementing and evaluating of their own learning <br />How do you see/encourage student voice in your science classroom? <br />
  10. 10. Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />SHARED & TRANSFORMATIONAL AUTHORITY<br />The authority of position and reason are particularly compelling in science class because science disciplines are usually taught and perceived by teachers and students as having “well-defined, unequivocal answers and solutions, as well as the unambiguous rules that students typically encounter in the exact and biological sciences<br />a “school's preoccupation with the authority of reason and of position can cause teachers and students to ignore a type of authority lying at the heart of action and performance: the authority of experience” <br />
  11. 11. Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />SHARED & TRANSFORMATIONAL AUTHORITY<br />Democratic science teaching employs a different slant on authority and its relationship to classroom communities<br />not based on position but rather on how and why one leverages knowledge and experience towards bringing about social good<br />recognize authority as relational, and bound by social and cultural structures that define relationships.<br />calls attention to the role of students in the process and in the desire to use personal and scientific knowledge and experience towards change. <br />How do you see/encourage shared authority in your science classroom? <br />
  12. 12. Democratic Science Classrooms: Voice, Authority & Critical Science Literacy<br />CRITCAL SCIENCE LITERACY<br />part of science literacy is a process of developing a critical consciousness with respect to context, with the power to transform reality, positioning the learner as a growing member of a community, with expanding roles and responsibilities<br />Critical science literacy not only promotes all important elements of science literacy it also embeds essential skills to participate in a democratic society in fair and just ways.<br />Instead of just attending to “what” individuals need to know, critical science literacy challenge the socio-political context of how and why youth are taught to engage science in the current system, thus challenging the functional view of science literacy that promotes economic growth at the cost of poor and marginalized groups <br />How do you see/encourage critical science literacy in your science classroom? <br />
  13. 13. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Urban school in NYC<br />believed that democracy in a school prepared students to be active citizens, they should<br />vote for order of units<br />the type of final project <br />the type of field trip to take <br />help with classroom management <br />
  14. 14. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Included students in discussion of science activities to engage in & rules of participation, came up with contract with students<br />Assigned three student-helpers who took on role of co-teachers<br />Did an activity students were interested (frog dissection) in even though it was not part of the scope and sequence for 8th grade science – students co-designed activity as well as assessment <br />
  15. 15. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Student Feedback: <br />“One thing that I noticed is that frog parts are similar to human anatomy. That suggests to me that humans and frogs may originally have come from a similar place.” (Science Content)<br />One student talked about having the flexibility of using the scalpel, while others talked about their surprise when they cut into the frogs and there were different layers of texture before diving into the inner anatomy. (Science skills & content)<br />The frog activity “really” made them feel like scientists because they were actively doing and exploring and they had independent choice. It made them feel as if they were acting like scientist (positive identity with science)<br />High level of engagement by many students (as compared to other classes)<br />
  16. 16. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />HEATHER: 8th GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER<br />Teacher Feedback: <br />“It made me realize that I can have students helping one another out; being "teachers" more often and it could be productive.” <br />A teacher can create many routes to democracy in her classroom, how this environment empowered youth in “critical subject agency” – deep knowledge, more engagement, challenging under-representation, and tackling issues of equity and power through subject knowledge.<br />
  17. 17. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />In Neil’s story, we begin to see how a young man worked with his teacher to create opportunities to expand his knowledge of robotics, and have that knowledge mean something for his conceptual physics class. In the process of doing so, he was afforded opportunities to draw upon his deep understanding of robotics, electricity and forces and motion, to build a new identity in his science class as an expert in robotics, and to use that knowledge and identity to transform some aspects of his own life and his physics classroom. <br />
  18. 18. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />Looking at Neil’s trajectory<br />Beginning of 9th grade<br /><ul><li>Disinterested student
  19. 19. Disinterested in science
  20. 20. Purposefully “acted dumb”</li></ul>End of 10th grade<br /><ul><li>Expert in Robotics
  21. 21. Robotics teacher
  22. 22. Ambition to join the military as an engineer to develop robots that will keep soldiers safe</li></ul>What took place to allow for this transformation? <br />
  23. 23. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />Teacher Jhumki taking an anti-deficit perspective <br />Jhumki sought Neil out to ask him about his interest in Robotics, introducing him to Robotics Competition<br />Neil participated in 9th grade science fair, creating a robot that won him the top prize<br />Learnt programming<br />Support from teacher to do research in science class<br />Support from teacher to secure materials required<br />
  24. 24. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />Jhumki then sought to increase Neil’s confidence and build on his new found identity as a robotics (and physics) expert  asked Neil to teach his peers about robotics<br />Jhumki chose the robotics kits the students would use, primarily based on the budget that the school allocated for the class. However, Neil and team-mates previewed the robotics kit before it arrived<br />In class, Neil moved between groups to help students solve building problems and become familiar with the software program. If during class, students struggled with programming or communication between the computer and robots, he came at lunch to try and sort out the problem, so next day’s class ran smoothly. Neil also helped collect and organize materials at the end of class. <br />
  25. 25. Democratic Science Classroom: Two Case Studies<br />NEIL- Jhumki’s science student 9th & 10th grade<br />Neil felt comfortable enough in his expertise to volunteer to be a student teacher in the other classroom, where he would not have access to Jhumki’s supervision.<br />Neil designed the final game board for the competition on his own; in this sense, he created the parameters for the final assessment of the unit. <br />Neil’s interest in robotics and experience in physics allowed him to take on a new identity as a teacher in his classroom.<br />
  26. 26. Democratic Science Classroom: Group Discussion<br />In the two case studies, where can you see evidence of the three conceptual tools of democratic science teaching? <br />Voice<br />Shared and transformative Authority<br />Critical Science Literacy?<br />What conditions existed for democratic science teaching to take place in the two cases? <br />What are some ways you can begin to think about enacting democratic science teaching in your science classroom? <br />What concerns or reservations do you have about taking the democratic science teaching approach? <br />

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