Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Hold up..do pigs eat bacon?!" An investigation of science instruction for urban Black youth and the need for a culturally considerate response
by Ridgeway, Monica Lynn, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2017, 203; 10255913
Abstract (Summary)

As a critical race ethnography, this dissertation attempts to foreground the richness of Black urban youth culture during and around science classroom instruction. Ironically, during an era of much diversity rhetoric in the United States, the culture of urban Black youth is rarely reflected in mainstream public school culture. I attempt to explicate such a worldview compassionately and authentically for both insiders and outsiders of the lived experiences of Black America. Education in the United States can be damning for Black youth who do not fit the mainstream mold, and several authors have provided detailed critique of mechanisms that shape, direct, and marginalize outliers to the successful academic cultural model. The U.S. through this lens is experiencing an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap—one which equitable educational experience can best be viewed through the richness of critical ethnographic methods. This methodical approach allowed me as a researcher to listen to marginalized voices and to incorporate lived interactions with youth, their parents, and community stakeholders all committed to provide support for the today’s youth. As a Black female science educator, I explore the evidence for reform impact as I examine in school experiences and science teaching of culturally relevant pedagogies for urban, working-class and poor families of color in grades six-eight who participated in a Western New York academic enrichment program. Findings suggest that skepticism of reform efforts and new pedagogical approaches existed for all stakeholders aforementioned, but that students were the most amenable and responsive to alternative educational approaches. Specific recommendations for engaging students in inquiry processes are given for teachers, institutions, parents and students on the basis of videotaped lessons, interviews, and instructional artifacts. Implications include the recommendations that educators working with youth of color need to be prepared to discuss the ethnic and racial identities of students and jointly construct a sense of activism and empowerment in the face of existing systemic oppression that can and should be eliminated if we are to reach the national goal (AAAS, 1986) of “Science for All Americans,” professed as many as three decades ago.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yerrick, Randy K.
Commitee: Boyd, Fenice B., Bruce, David
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Learning and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Black studies, Science education
Keywords: Black youth, Critical race theory, Culturally relevant pedagogy, Science education, Urban education
Publication Number: 10255913
ISBN: 978-1-369-59391-4
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