Theses Doctoral

A Black Feminist Book Club as a Multicultural Professional Development Model for Inservice Secondary Science Teachers

Hoard, Althea Breanna

According to science teacher educators, science teachers often struggle to embrace and implement multicultural teaching practices due to limited awareness of the biases, assumptions, and oppressive structures that hinder the success of Students of Color in science classrooms. At its core, teachers lack this awareness due to incomplete understanding of the ways identity markers, such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, work together to shape one’s coming into, understanding of, and success in the sciences. To this end, this case study features four science teachers of diverse backgrounds who engaged in a book club structured to support their understanding of their intersectionality and their identity development. These four science teachers met as a science department to engage with the text Black Feminist Thought (BFT) (Collins, 2009) and other critical texts over a six-month period at a New York City, charter high school. The findings revealed the ways racial stereotypes, propagated by many factors ― including images of scientists, relationships with teachers, and expectations of peers and family ― influenced their coming into and understanding of science. Additionally, the findings show the ways teachers discovered their intersectionality —particularly the interplay of their race and gender— influenced their approaches to teaching science. As teachers learned about the multidimensionality of their positional identities, they became aware of discriminatory structures of power that disadvantage their Black female science students and reported implementing more student-centered pedagogical practices. Altogether, this study offers a professional development model for building critical consciousness with inservice secondary science teachers.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felicia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 29, 2017