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

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Published: 
Dec. 01, 2013

Source: Journal of Science Teacher Education, Volume 24, Issue 8, (December 2013), p. 1293-1313.

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article examines the experiences of Black science teacher educators when they attempted to include multicultural education, equity, and social justice in their teaching.

Methodology
The participants were 13 female participants—six assistant professors, five associate professors, and two professors.
Seven male participated in the study: three assistant professors, three associate professors, and one professor.
The participants defined their ethnicities in the following way: 11 as African Americans, 4 as Black, 4 as West Indian/Caribbean Black.
One did not provide his ethnicity.
All participants received their doctorates from research intensive or extensive universities in the United States except one.
Data were collected via a demographic questionnaire and one-to-one interviews.

Discussion

The findings reveal that the participants shared challenges that occur in the academy when they dealt with their Blackness as a faculty member and attempted to infuse multicultural science education, equity, and social justice in their classes.
None of these faculty members in this study were assigned to teach ‘‘diversity’’ courses; however, many decided to incorporate multicultural education, equity, and social justice in their courses.
Furthermore, some of them have attempted and stopped due to student evaluations and the need to gain promotion and tenure.

The authors suggest that these shared experiences can assist other science educators by understanding Black faculty members’ struggles with the infusion of multicultural science education, equity, and social justice in their teaching and how their Blackness was perceived by their students.
They argue that the White colleagues need to understand these issues so that policies and practices can be enacted to enhance the teaching environment for Black science teacher education faculty members.
The authors also suggest that with a more diverse teacher education faculty, science teacher education programs are more likely to emphasize critical inquiry.
They also argue that such programs can respect diverse student groups’ experiences; require preservice science teachers to understand K-12 student construction on science learning; and insist their preservice teachers interact with their K-12 student communities.
In addition, the participants have experienced exclusion and oppression.
Hence, it is imperative that science education teaching be enhanced, diversified, and focused on preparing teachers of science to provide high quality science teaching to all of the students they find in their classrooms.
Furthermore, the experiences shared by the Black science educators identify areas of concern for the science teacher education community at large.

The authors conclude that the integration of one Black science educator is but one small step in comparison to the challenges identified by the higher education research on the experiences of Black faculty in academe.

Updated: Dec. 14, 2015
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