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Theses Doctoral

Exploration of Differences in the Beliefs and Attitudes of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics Teachers on Multiculturalism in Secondary Science Classrooms

Biswas, Samir Chandra

This study explored if there are differing beliefs and attitudes regarding working with students of multicultural backgrounds based on the content area specialties (i.e. biology, chemistry, Earth science and physics) of in-service secondary science teachers. The study was mixed methods and conducted in two parts. The first part focused on the use of quantitative statistical analysis to review the results of 152 respondents to a 54 Likert questions on the Survey on Multiculturalism in the Science Classroom (SMSC). The statistical analysis was followed up with qualitative analysis of interviews with 12 in-service science teachers representing the different content areas. Quantitative findings indicated that biology and Earth science teachers demonstrated similar patterns of responses in terms of comparative statistical analysis, network correlation diagrams, and general responses to the Likert items from the SMSC. Of the four content area groups, physics teachers demonstrated the greatest difference in their responses regarding multiculturalism. The results also showed that the beliefs and attitudes of chemistry teachers were correlated with those of physics teachers; this was not the case for biology teachers and Earth science teachers. Themes emerging from a qualitative analysis of the interviews included the following: a) In-service teachers have received little formalized training in regard to working with multicultural students; and b) Differences in teacher beliefs and attitudes reported in this study could be the result of diminishing representation of students from multicultural backgrounds in the different sciences, particularly as students move through a traditional progression from biology, to Earth science, to chemistry, to physics.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felica
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 23, 2020