Archive: Teacher Tip Tuesday: The Meaning Beyond The Words: How Language, Race, & Culture Impact Science Teaching & Learning, February 2, 2021

For years, research on the language of classrooms explored how the way we say things impacts students’ sense of belonging. Despite this research, Science and Technology Education have failed to adequately explore how issues of race, language, and culture shape the outcomes of teaching and learning in science.

Through a sequence of research, this presentation explores the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of this dilemma. From a theoretical perspective, the talk will explore the Language-Identity dilemma. As students learn, the way academic language is taught to them can present a cognitive and cultural conflict. From a cognitive perspective, if science is taught without respect to the implications of how language is learned students can be misunderstood and misunderstand the teacher’s complex discourse. From a cultural conflict perspective, students’ may feel they are cultural outsiders when the language of the classroom positions them as outsiders.

The presentation provides an overview of a series of qualitative and quantitative experiments that document the realities of this complex interaction.

View the Archive Video

To view the presentation slides from the web seminar and related resources, visit the resource collection. Continue discussing this topic in the community forums.

Below are comments from individuals who attended the seminar:

  • "I very much appreciated seeing solid data that refutes the need for intensive vocabulary learning before conceptual learning in science, and supports the learning gains that students can make when they engage with potentially challenging content in a way that utilizes and respects their personal context and experience."
  • "The enthusiasm and knowledge of speaker was phenomenal!"
  • "Very informative! It went by very quickly but I am motivated to learn more and try to apply these concepts in my work."

A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' account page for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

For more information contact: webseminars@nsta.org

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