Instruction in Nature of Science as a Multicultural Approach

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  • Overview of presentation: Purpose: to present a new approach to science instruction drawing from multicultural education.
  • Considering the negotiation of cultural understandings in science with students from diverse cultural backgrounds Lipka, Mohatt & Cuilistet Group (1998) Aikenhead (1998); Jegede & Aikenhead (1999) Inquiry-based instruction with upper level middle school and high school ELL and non-mainstream students Bringing students’ diverse home cultural understandings and life-worlds into science learning along the lines of funds of knowledge Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti (2001) Considering the negotiation of cultural understandings in science with students from diverse cultural backgrounds Lipka, Mohatt & Cuilistet Group (1998) Aikenhead (1998); Jegede & Aikenhead (1999) Inquiry-based instruction with upper level middle school and high school ELL and non-mainstream students Bringing students’ diverse home cultural understandings and life-worlds into science learning along the lines of funds of knowledge Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti (2001)
  • Instruction in Nature of Science as a Multicultural Approach

    1. 1. Being explicit about science: Instruction in the nature of science as a multicultural approach A paper presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching Conference, Garden Grove, CA, April 17-20, 2009 Xenia Meyer and Barbara Crawford, Cornell University
    2. 2. Problem <ul><li>Gaps in science outcomes among racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups ( Lee & Luykx, 2006) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>achievement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attitudes toward science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enrollment in high school courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>earning college and graduate degrees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>entrance into science occupations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Science education is not reaching students from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences (Latino, Black, Native American, Pacific Islander student groups, and women). </li></ul>
    3. 3. Core question: <ul><li>How do we modify approaches in science instruction to better reach students from underrepresented backgrounds? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional Congruency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explicit Instruction in Nature of Science </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Science as inquiry… <ul><li>• Engaging in scientifically oriented questions </li></ul><ul><li>• Giving priority to evidence in responding to questions </li></ul><ul><li>• Formulating explanations from evidence </li></ul><ul><li>• Connecting explanations to scientific knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>• Communicating and justifying findings </li></ul><ul><li> (National Research Council [NRC], 2000, p. 29) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Inquiry as an instructional approach… <ul><li>Entails shifting from learning about science to learning science by engaging students in scientific activity (National Research Council [NRC], 1996; 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>May increase accessibility and relevancy of science through participation in activity, context, and culture of science (Dewey, 1916; Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Rogoff, 1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Repositions teacher-centered focus to student-centered focus (Crawford, 2000) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Benefits of Inquiry-based Approaches for Diverse Students <ul><li>Allows for students to build on prior knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Amaral, Garrison, and Klentschy (2001) suggest: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for language development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time to build context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds common experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds thinking skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cooperative learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases classroom comfort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates positive attitudes towards learning </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Science is more than content-matter… <ul><li>Science is a cultural way of knowing (Brickhouse & Stanley,1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Science learning through inquiry includes “enculturation” into scientific ways of knowing (Driver, Asoko, Leach, Mortimer, & Scott, 1994) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Sociocultural Perspectives on Science Learning <ul><li>School science is aligned with Western modern science (Cobern, 1993; Lipka et al., 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Science learning may challenge students’ cultural and everyday ways of knowing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culturally accepted norms in inquiry may be challenging (Lee, 2003) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These challenges constitute borders and boundaries (Ogawa, 1995; Aikenhead, 1996; Jegede & Aikenhead, 1999) </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. A need to consider: <ul><li>How students negotiate cultural differences in school science learning </li></ul><ul><li>How to bolster inquiry with instructional approaches to support diverse student groups in learning science </li></ul><ul><li>The potential for extending multicultural education strategies to benefit students in science learning </li></ul>
    10. 10. Multicultural Approaches <ul><li>Student-centered instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Culturally-congruent examples </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Language learning support </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit instruction about difference </li></ul>
    11. 11. Instructional Congruency Features <ul><li>Sharing of scientific authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student-centered approach; assumed by inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Linguistic scaffolding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases accessibility of content-matter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of everyday language in the classroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases accessibility of content-matter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of diverse cultural experiences and materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Draws on students’ everyday lives and life-worlds </li></ul></ul>(Luykx & Lee, 2007)
    12. 12. Facilitating boundary and border crossings into science <ul><li>Teacher as a “cultural broker” (Aikenhead, 1996) </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional congruency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student-centered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linguistic support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connecting science to students’ everyday lives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explicit instruction in NOS (Lederman, 2004) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frames science within its cultural assumptions </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Explicit instruction in Nature of Science <ul><li>Scientific knowledge is tentative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>subject to change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Empirically-based </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on and/or derived at least partially from observations of the natural world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subjective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>theory-laden, involves individual or group interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Necessarily involves human inference, imagination, and creativity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>involves the invention of explanations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is socially and culturally embedded </li></ul><ul><ul><li>influenced by the society/culture in which science is practiced </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Overlap in inquiry, instructional congruency and explicit instruction in NOS   Inquiry Instructional Congruency Nature of Science <ul><li>engage in scientifically oriented questions </li></ul><ul><li>a sharing of scientific authority </li></ul><ul><li>tentative (subject to change) </li></ul><ul><li>give priority to evidence in responding to questions </li></ul><ul><li>the use of linguistic scaffolding to enhance meaning </li></ul><ul><li>empirically-based (based on and/or derived at least partially from observations of the natural world) </li></ul><ul><li>formulate explanations from evidence </li></ul><ul><li>the use of students’ home languages in classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>subjective (theory-laden, involves individual or group interpretation) </li></ul><ul><li>connect explanations to scientific knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>a diversity of cultural experiences and materials </li></ul><ul><li>necessarily involves human inference, imagination, and creativity (involves the invention of explanations) </li></ul><ul><li>communicate and justifies findings </li></ul>  <ul><li>is socially and culturally embedded (influenced by the society/culture in which science is practiced) </li></ul>
    15. 15. Scientific knowledge is tentative <ul><li>Explicitness about scientific knowledge being subject to change may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate student understanding of the scientific process of knowledge production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offset views of science as a fixed “truth” to accept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create space for students to negotiate understandings of science as an evolving field in which its participants have agency </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Scientific Knowledge is Empirically-based <ul><li>Explicitness about science being based on and/or derived at least partially from observations of the natural world may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ground scientific knowledge in everyday life situations for students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide space for students as active participants observing and making sense of the world around them; agency </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Scientific Knowledge is Subjective <ul><li>Explicitness about science being theory-laden, involves individual or group interpretation may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demystify power-relations in scientific knowledge construction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open the space for negotiating/accepting alternative understandings </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Science involves human inference, imagination, and creativity <ul><li>Explicitness about science involving the invention of explanations may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foster the participation of diverse student groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boost student agency in making sense of science and the natural world as they attempt to make their own explanations </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Scientific knowledge is socially and culturally embedded <ul><li>Explicitness about science being socially and culturally embedded may: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frame science as a cultural way of knowing with its own language, processes, and customs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bolster student agency to participate in science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demystify how science is constructed </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Instructionally congruent inquiry-based instruction combined with explicit guidance in NOS
    21. 21. Conclusions <ul><li>Supporting students in making linguistic and cultural boundary and border-crossings in science learning includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing science as a cultural way of knowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adopting instructionally congruent learning strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deconstructing science through explicit instruction in NOS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Further investigation is needed to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand how inquiry, instructional congruency, and explicit instruction in NOS together may afford underrepresented and ELL student groups greater connections to science learning </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Xenia Meyer </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Barbara Crawford </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>This paper can be found at: </li></ul><ul><li>www.fossilfinders.org/about/published.php </li></ul>

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