- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950260
- First Name Elaine
- Last Name Howes
- Discipline Geosciences, STEM Education (general)
Jamie Wallace, Elizabeth Edmondson, Dominick Fantacone, Melanie Hopkins, Aimee Ellington, Sean Nolan
Elaine V. Howes, Jamie Wallace, Melanie Hopkins, AMNH; Elizabeth Edmondson, Aimee Ellington, VCU; Dominick Fantacone, Sean Nolan, SUNY Cortland
While studies have shown that culturally responsive teaching is crucial for supporting students’ academic success, there is little research that shows what culturally responsive science teaching could look like in science classrooms. This project seeks to address what “culturally responsive science teaching” looks like in high-need science classrooms. We posit that culturally responsive science teaching is a crucial foundation for effectively teaching in high-need schools that commonly serve immigrants, students from families in poverty, and students whose home cultures are different from the teaching population’s (Cruz, Ellerbrock, Vásquez, & Howes, 2014; Santamaria, 2009; Villegas & Lucas, 2007). As part of our effort to respond to this challenging question, we will observe, over time, the teaching of graduates of each of the three partner programs. The data gained through these classroom observations will be accompanied by interviews with the participating teachers, their students, and their administrators.
Culturally Responsive Education
Scholars have argued that culturally responsive education is necessary for classroom teaching and learning for students who have traditionally been shut out of academic success (Johnston et al, 2017). This perspective has undergone multiple iterations and modifications since it was originally introduced by Ladson-Billings as culturally relevant pedagogy (1995; 2009; 2014), and a plethora of derivations weave through the research base (see e.g., Gay, 2010; Howard, 2001; Paris & Alim, 2017; Souto-Manning, 2018). Throughout these interpretations, several criteria remain central: students’ academic success, cultural competence, development of critical consciousness (Ladson-Billings, 1995), and the integration of students’ lived experiences and cultural and language assets into instruction (Moll et al., 1992; Lopez, 2017; Johnston et al., 2017). For the purposes of this proposal, we use the phrase culturally responsive education to represent a body of scholarship that values what students bring to the classroom as assets and uses these assets as resources for teaching; encourages teachers to draw upon students’ cultures to strengthen their connections to them; holds high expectations for all students’ academic learning; and helps students develop a critical stance toward sociopolitical structures and processes.
Core Teaching Practices
Much of the development in effective teaching and teacher preparation in the last decade has focused on the role of specific core teaching practices that are based on evidence of student learning (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Lampert & Graziani, 2009; Forzani, 2014; Kloser, 2014; Windschitl et al., 2012; Stroupe, 2013; Ball & Forzani, 2009). For example, TeachingWorks outlines 19 domain-general teaching practices, including “leading a group discussion,” “setting up and managing group work,” and “selecting and designing formal assessments of student learning” (Richmond, 2015). Similarly, the Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis professional learning program at BSCS describes 16 science-specific “strategies” that they argue are high-leverage when used in an integrated way (Roth, Kowalski, & Bintz, 2018). In contrast to these practices with small grain size, the Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) framework outlines four central teaching practices that together offer “a coherent vision of instruction that incorporates both rigor and equity”: 1) planning for engagement with big science ideas, 2) eliciting students’ ideas, 3) supporting ongoing changes in students’ thinking, and 4) drawing together evidence-based explanations (Windschitl, Thompson & Braaten, 2018, p.1). While all of these sets of core practices aim to develop equitable classroom environments and support the academic success of all students, researchers have also identified core practices that specifically draw from CRE concepts, including: practices that support teachers in learning about their students’ thinking and valuing their ideas as resources (Roth, Kowalski, & Bintz, 2018; Stroupe, 2013; Larkin, 2017); practices that help novices create authentic assessments to develop relationships with students and their families (McDonald, Bowman, & Brayko, 2013); and practices that help teachers communicate productively with urban stakeholders (Hammerness & Kennedy, 2019).
This poster will describe our preparations for the phase of the study during which we will work with participating teachers to explore their perspectives and instruction in reference to culturally responsive science teaching. We will share our collaborative processes for developing the protocols for collecting and analyzing data from classroom instruction, focusing on our “Culturally Responsive-Core Practices Observation Guide,” [CRE-CP Observation Guide] and ask program attendees for feedback. We believe that our CRE-CP Observation Guide, which draws on multiple sources concerned with culturally responsive and core teaching practices, could be useful for others who are interested in a tool for research and/or for teacher education that is based in culturally responsive education.
The research questions guiding the teacher case studies include: In what ways do graduates enact culturally responsive science teaching in their classrooms? What experiences, perspectives, and practices do teachers draw on and implement in regard to culturally responsive science teaching? How does teachers’ thinking about and implementation of culturally responsive science teaching change over time? Our CRE-Core Practices Guide will support us in exploring these research questions. For this poster presentation, we will share our responses to the questions: What was the collaborative process used for the development of a CRE-CP Observation Guide? What are we learning from this process? We will also ask our Noyce colleagues: In what ways might the CRE-CP Observation Guide be helpful in your own work in preparing and supporting new teachers? If so, in what ways? What might this guide be missing?
The CRE-Core Practices Observation Guide was developed to help inform interpretation of what researchers will see in the classroom. To aid in this interpretation, the Guide includes examples from the research base to support the research team in connecting their observations with the concepts of culturally responsive education and core teaching practices in science. The development of the Guide, as well as its ongoing use in the research study, helped the team to create a shared understanding of CRE and Core Practices in instruction. It is also possible that researchers may find practices that are not represented on the Guide and can potentially add to our understanding of culturally responsive science teaching. The CRE-Core Practices Guide was constructed collaboratively by our research team. We drew on multiple sources, including other observation guides, rubrics, and discussion tools, as well as the broader literature in culturally responsive teaching and in core practices. To develop the CRE-Core Practices Guide, we drew on multiple protocols and tools grounded in CRE and Core Practices, as well as our program observation rubrics, including: (1) Culturally Responsive Instruction Observation Protocol (CRIOP) (Powell, et al., 2017), (2) Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy (CRTSE) scale (Siwatu, 2011), (3) Ambitious Science Teaching (Windschitl et al., 2018), (4) Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework (New York State Department of Education), (5) CRT Walk-Through Observation Guide (www.ready rigor.com, Zaretta Hammond), (6) Disposition Continuum for Teaching and Learning Tool (AMNH RGGS MAT ESRP). One aspect of developing the tool was to “pilot” it within our team, using free online video of classroom instruction. This process helped us to resolve differences in interpretation, and to think about the challenges of taking good field notes amidst the complexity of a classroom. We believe that our process, as difficult and drawn-out as it was, represents our commitment to culturally responsive research approaches (Howes & Wallace, 2020, 2022; Rodriquez et al., 2011; Trainor & Bal, 2014; Berryman et al, 2013; Garribay, 2017) in developing protocols. Additionally, as part of our collaborative approach, we workshopped reviewing and adapting particular sections of the Guide with our advisory board on the project. This Guide is not a rubric, as our study is not evaluative, but exploratory. For this reason, the Guide will not be used during observations, but as an accompaniment to field notes to use after observations. Field notes will be taken in the form of running records and the Guide will be used to note any examples in their field notes of teaching practices also represented in the Guide. The Guide will also be used to inform the development, analysis, and writing of research memos and the teacher case studies.
Coming from three very different teacher education programs, the research team found it to be a productive exercise to develop the CRE-Core Practices Guide. Along the way, we encountered differences in understanding of culturally responsive education, and were able to discuss and resolve these. In other words, while the Guide itself is a physical outcome, it remains a living document and will be revised to incorporate what we learn and discern where its strengths and weaknesses lie. Our next step in this study, beginning in the fall of 2023, is to explore how graduates from three teacher preparation programs practice culturally responsive science teaching and how they, their students, and their administrators view teacher effectiveness.
The CRE-CP Observation Guide will aid us in constructing concrete, real-world images of what Noyce graduates actually do in their classrooms. This Guide offers potential suggestions that could link theory and practice to help illustrate what culturally responsive science teaching might entail across diverse contexts and thus can support further research. We believe that both the process of developing the Guide and the Guide itself provide models for studying teachers’ culturally responsive practices. Researchers, as well as teacher educators, may find this guide useful as they study – and prepare teachers for – culturally responsive science teaching in high-need settings.