African American and Other Traditionally Underrepresented Students in School STEM: The Historical Legacy and Strategies for Moving from Stigmatization to Motivation

  • Obed Norman


This chapter deals with the need for educators to create learning environments that are welcoming and nurturing for all students but particularly for students of color in STEM education. This chapter deals mainly with African American students, and the history cited is that of African American teachers. However, the principles and problems explored in this chapter are also applicable to Latino and other underrepresented groups in US urban schools. The first part of this chapter identifies the problem of underrepresented students in American classrooms as essentially a problem of teacher-student cultural disconnect. This cultural disconnect necessitates the active and deliberate creation of classroom learning communities that support learning for all students. Such classrooms are unlikely to come about by default or without conscious effort. Next will come a brief overview of how the events leading to and immediately following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision created a set of circumstances that continue to reverberate through the educational system in the United States to this day. This historical backward glance enables us to understand the historical legacy that needs to be overcome by the creation of welcoming and nurturing learning environments. Finally, this chapter ends with some of the specific issues to be addressed as science teacher educators take on the task of equipping teachers with the skills and dispositions required to create the classroom culture and atmosphere in which all students can thrive. Issues of marginalization, stigmatization, and the cultivation of positive possible selves for all students are some of the specific issues discussed.


Science Teacher Black Student White Student Stereotype Threat African American Male 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Capstone InstituteHoward UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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