Award Date

8-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Janelle M. Bailey

Second Committee Member

Jane McCarthy

Third Committee Member

Hasan Deniz

Fourth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages

165

Abstract

Multicultural Science has been a topic of research and discourse over the past several years. However, most of the literature concerning this topic (or paradigm) has centered on programs in tribal or Indigenous schools. Under the framework of instructional congruence, this case study explored how elementary and middle school students in a culturally diverse charter school responded to a Multicultural Science program. Furthermore, this research sought to better understand the dynamics of teaching and learning strategies used within the paradigm of Multicultural Science. The school's Robotics class, a class typically stereotyped as fitting within the misconceptions associated with the Western Modern Science paradigm, was the center of this case study. A triangulation of data consisted of class observations throughout two semesters; pre and post student science attitude surveys; and interviews with individual students, Robotic student teams, the Robotics class instructor, and school administration.

Three themes emerged from the data that conceptualized the influence of a Multicultural Science curriculum with ethnically diverse students in a charter school's Robotics class. Results included the students' perceptions of a connection between science (i.e., Robotics) and their personal lives, a positive growth in the students' attitude toward science (and engineering), and a sense of personal empowerment toward being successful in science. However, also evident in the findings were the students' stereotypical attitudes toward science (and scientists) and their lack of understanding of the Nature of Science.

Implications from this study include suggestions toward the development of Multicultural Science curricula in public schools. Modifications in university science methods courses to include the Multicultural Science paradigm are also suggested.

Keywords

Culturally relevant pedagogy; Instructional Congruence; Multicultural education; Multicultural Pedagogy; Multicultural Science; Qualitative Case Study; Robotics – Study and teaching (Middle school); Science – Study and teaching; Science Education

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Science and Mathematics Education

Language

English