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Theses Doctoral

Facilitating Cultural Border Crossing in Urban Secondary Science Classrooms: A Study of Inservice Teachers

Monteiro, Anna Karina

Research acknowledges that if students are to be successful science, they must learn to navigate and cross cultural borders that exist between their own cultures and the subculture of science. This dissertation utilized a mixed methods approach to explore how inservice science teachers working in urban schools construct their ideas of and apply the concepts about the culture of science and cultural border crossing as relevant to the teaching and learning of science. The study used the lenses of cultural capital, social constructivism, and cultural congruency in the design and analysis of each of the three phases of data collection. Phase I identified the perspectives of six inservice science teachers on science culture, cultural border crossing, and which border crossing methods, if any, they used during science teaching. Phase II took a dialectical approach as the teachers read about science culture and cultural border crossing during three informal professional learning community meetings. This phase explored how teachers constructed their understanding of cultural border crossing and how the concept applied to the teaching and learning of science. Phase III evaluated how teachers' perspectives changed from Phase I. In addition, classroom observations were used to determine whether teachers' practices in their science classrooms changed from Phase I to Phase III. All three phases collected data through qualitative (i.e., interviews, classroom observations, and surveys) and quantitative (Likert items) means.
The findings indicated that teachers found great value in learning about the culture of science and cultural border crossing as it pertained to their teaching methods. This was not only evidenced by their interviews and surveys, but also in the methods they used in their classrooms. Final conclusions included how the use of student capital resources (prior experiences, understandings and knowledge, ideas an interests, and personal beliefs), if supported by science practices and skills increases student cultural capital. With a greater cultural capital, the students experience cultural congruency between their cultures and the culture of science, enabling them to cross such borders in the science classroom. The implications such findings have on teacher training programs and professional development are discussed.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Emdin, Christopher
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 24, 2015