An Examination of Black Science Teacher Educators’ Experiences with Multicultural Education, Equity, and Social Justice

Abstract

Diversity, multicultural education, equity, and social justice are dominant themes in cultural studies (Hall in Cultural dialogues in cultural studies. Routledge, New York, pp 261–274, 1996; Wallace 1994). Zeichner (Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp 737–759, 2005) called for research studies of teacher educators because little research exists on teacher educators since the late 1980s. Thomson et al. (2001) identified essential elements needed in order for critical multiculturalism to be infused in teacher education programs. However, little is known about the commitment and experiences of science teacher educators infusing multicultural education, equity, and social justice into science teacher education programs. This paper examines twenty (20) Black science teacher educators’ teaching experiences as a result of their Blackness and the inclusion of multicultural education, equity, and social justice in their teaching. This qualitative case study of 20 Black science teacher educators found that some of them have attempted and stopped due to student evaluations and the need to gain promotion and tenure. Other participants were able to integrate diversity, multicultural education, equity and social justice in their courses because their colleagues were supportive. Still others continue to struggle with this infusion without the support of their colleagues, and others have stopped The investigators suggest that if science teacher educators are going to prepare science teachers for the twenty first century, then teacher candidates must be challenged to grapple with racial, ethnic, cultural, instructional, and curricular issues and what that must mean to teach science to US students in rural, urban, and suburban school contexts.

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Acknowledgments

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0840039. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Mary M. Atwater.

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Atwater, M.M., Butler, M.B., Freeman, T.B. et al. An Examination of Black Science Teacher Educators’ Experiences with Multicultural Education, Equity, and Social Justice. J Sci Teacher Educ 24, 1293–1313 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9358-8

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Keywords

  • Science teacher educators
  • Black faculty members
  • Multicultural science education