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Culturally responsive science teaching has been associated with several positive academic outcomes for students of color, including improved science achievement, attitudes, and identities. Given the chronic science performance gap between students of color and white peers, culturally responsive teaching seems ideal for mitigating this disparity. Traditional teacher preparation programs, however, neither emphasize nor require multicultural science education coursework. Unfortunately, many science teachers exit preparation programs without critically examining their beliefs about culturally diverse students or increasing their confidence in working with them. In response to this concern, we designed a theoretically- and contextually-grounded induction course to support culturally responsive secondary science teacher development. The purpose of this four-week course was to engage beginning secondary science teachers (1-5 years of teaching experience) in activities, discussions, and reflections raising awareness of the importance of attending to attitudes about culturally diverse students, as well as abilities to incorporate students’ backgrounds into science instruction.
Course goals included improving teachers’: understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP); sociopolitical awareness and knowledge of their cultural identities; knowledge of and attitudes toward culturally diverse students, their families, and communities; critical reflection on classroom practices; and abilities to design culturally responsive science curriculum units integrating families’ funds of knowledge and/or sociopolitical ties. In this paper, we share our design and implementation experiences, as well as teacher outcomes. Continued conversations between researchers, teacher educators, and others involved in advancing culturally responsive science teaching are crucial to the academic success of culturally diverse student populations.
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