- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 2243359
- First Name Deena
- Last Name Gould
- Discipline STEM Education (general)
Shawn Secatero, Tito Busani, Laura Crossey
Deena L. Gould
The TODOS project aims to serve the national need for developing K-12 science teacher leadership that has the potential to attract a more diverse group of students into science. The project will support the development of science teacher leaders who are able to connect school science with the ways that science is done in families and the ways science is done in other places in a STEM learning ecosystem. When teachers connect school science with diverse ways that science is done across a STEM learning ecosystem, they can likely support a greater diversity of students to gain science interest and science achievement. Additionally, the research for this project will respond to a gap in the literature about science teachers taking on leadership roles in a STEM ecosystem.
The TODOS project aims to advance knowledge about how teacher networking in a STEM learning ecosystem can advance learning opportunities for a greater diversity of students. We ask how science teachers can leverage the social, cultural, and physical resources of a STEM ecosystem to serve a diversity of students. Our specific guiding questions are: 1. What social network connections emerge among the science teacher leaders and other actors in the STEM ecosystem over the five years of the project? 2. How do science teacher leaders use those STEM ecosystem connections and the social, cultural, and physical resources associated with those connections, in their work with students and colleagues?
The project builds on theoretical knowledge about the STEM learning ecosystem and a relational form of leadership called Maize leadership. The program leverages and enhances a growing body of knowledge that the best predictor of a student’s future engagement with STEM is the ability to access and traverse the STEM learning ecosystem. This project will create, study, and advance a relational leadership model called Maize Leadership that empowers K-12 teacher leaders to connect their schools and students with the diverse ways families do science and ways other people in the STEM learning ecosystem do science. We will guide teachers to understand how students’ cultures are centrally and essentially integrated in a STEM learning ecosystem. We will also guide teachers to learn how to apply their understanding of the central role of culture in their teaching decisions and activities. Our approach develops teachers’ abilities to mobilize activities across a STEM learning ecosystem, and mentor students and other educators for success across varied STEM pathways connected to that ecosystem. We will use tools of social network analysis to study and report how network connections emerge among the science teacher leaders and other actors in the STEM ecosystem over the five years of the TODOS project. We will also use social network analysis to study and report how science teacher leaders use those network connections in their work with students and colleagues. We will collect data about how teachers connect with, and use, social, cultural, and physical resources of the STEM learning ecosystem in their teaching and school activities. We intend to use the Teacher Reflection on their Agency for Change (TRAC) tool. Each month, teachers will report about a situation in which they interacted or sought support from components of the STEM learning ecosystem. They will tell 1.) what they were trying to do or what they were trying to address in their teaching 2.) who the people or social or cultural resources they sought to involve and how 3.) why or how, they did or did not do, what they sought to do. The TRAC tool enables teachers to visualize what parts of the STEM learning ecosystem they are accessing and integrating into their teaching and activities. The visual shows teachers which components of the STEM learning ecosystem are, and are not, represented in their teaching and activities. The TRAC tool and visuals serve as ongoing feedback to teachers about how they are, or are not, leveraging aspects of the STEM ecosystem.
The TODOS project will deliver, study, and disseminate results of a sustainable model of teacher leadership that mobilizes social, cultural, and physical resources of the STEM ecosystem for greater student success. Teachers will serve as STEM ecosystem leaders by: 1. Building relationships and leadership across the STEM learning ecosystem which includes families, informal and formal STEM organizations, and STEM career and college pathways; 2. Organizing diverse learning experiences that leverage connections across the STEM learning ecosystem and that broaden student interest and success in K-12 science; 3. Co-leading a professional science teachers association that educates other science teachers, builds and maintains collaborations across the STEM learning ecosystem, and influences policy and implementation of culturally responsive K-12 science.
The TODOS project will connect school science with the STEM ecosystem and diversify who is able to access and build an interest and affinity with STEM. The relational leadership model will guide teachers to broker and mentor different ways that diverse students can find STEM connections with their local cultural activity, and also find pathways for careers, colleges, and civic engagement connected to a STEM learning ecosystem. The relational leadership model will be reified in a an ongoing and replicable digital platform that connects teachers and schools with the broader STEM ecosystem. The science teacher leaders will learn to mentor other teachers to serve as brokers and catalysts of culturally contextualized ways of doing science in the STEM ecosystem and will mentor other teachers for this form of leadership in the New Mexico Science Teachers Association (NMSTA). By developing the mentoring skills of the science teacher leaders, and by contributing to a sustainable organizational infrastructure in the form of NMSTA, the project will create a networked science teacher leadership model that continues after the completion of the Noyce grant, and that can be replicated in other states. Results will be disseminated to STEM teacher education programs, faculty, administrators, researchers, policy makers, teachers, science education leaders, and science teacher professional organizations.