- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660681
- First Name Peter
- Last Name Garik
- Discipline Chemistry, Engineering, Physics
Andrew Duffy, Dan Dill, Donald DeRosa
The Greater Boston area has multiple high need school districts: e.g., Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, Somerville. Each of these districts need to have highly qualified teachers in the sciences. Our two Noyce awards have targeted these districts. It is important for our Noyce program to understand whether our alums are teaching with cultural competence; whether our alums continue to teach science after satisfying their Noyce commitment; and, if our alums are teaching, why they remain in a high-need district or have left teaching in such a district.
We are most concerned that our Noyce Scholars are prepared to be culturally competent teachers. For this purpose, our Master of Arts in Teaching Program emphasizes the importance of treating each student as an individual, but also as someone who comes from a community and a background culture. The questions we formatively address as our program evolves are: What are the best methods to prepare students to be culturally competent? and, Are our Scholars prepared for a teaching career, preferably one in high-need districts?
We addressed two major research questions. The first is the retention of our Noyce alums as teachers, and specifically teachers in high-need districts. The second question addressed was whether our Noyce alums were practicing culturally competent methods in their practice. To answer these questions, we conducted a longitudinal survey of our alums. The survey was a convenience sampling with 42 of our 53 Noyce alums responding. Questions on the survey were derived from prior published research on Noyce alums (Whitfield et al 2021) and on self-efficacy for culturally competent teaching (Siwatu 2007). For retention questions, we have analyzed the results descriptively. For questions of cultural competent teaching, we have looked for correlations in practices our alums find effective with what they say they are practicing.
We have prepared 53 Noyce Scholars with Noyce awards that began in 2013. Based on our survey, as of the end of the 2022 school year, of the 34 respondents who are past their two-year commitment, 30 continue to teach, and 24 teach in a high-need district. Many of those who continue to teach in a high-need district report that social justice and empathy for their students are important motivations. With respect to their cultural teaching practices, they are practicing culturally responsive/relevant methods as described in the literature, and there is a correlation between their practices and their belief in their effectiveness. The retention of our alums in teaching, and especially in high-need district teaching, helps validate our program’s methods.
The outcomes of our survey are important for the Noyce community to consider in terms of who to recruit and receive a Noyce Scholarship, as well as the importance of including pedagogy on culturally competent practices in the licensure program. For the question of who should receive the funding, screening for a commitment to social justice is important. With respect to preparation for culturally competent teaching, this must be addressed in a practical manner in the program’s courses.