The Knowledge and Practices of High School Science Teachers in Pursuit of Cultural Responsiveness

Julie C. Brown, Kent J. Crippen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Scholars argue that bridging students' backgrounds with canonical science is necessary for students of color by reducing incongruences between home and school and increasing the authenticity of science learning. However, science teachers often struggle with enacting culturally responsive pedagogies (CRP). This paper utilizes data from classroom observations, group interviews, and numerous program artifacts to describe four themes associated with the knowledge and practices of six high school life science teachers as they learned about and attempted to enact CRP while participating in a professional development program. These themes include views of students that changed from a focus on indirect experiences and emphasizing what students lacked to direct experiences and discussions of resources that they brought to the classroom; repositioning of students and teachers that was originally undetectable but moved to situating students as leaders with authoritative knowledge that constructed products together; community building that was done to promote interaction, learning, and give voice to students; and utilizing a CRP toolbox of responsive strategies and relevant topics to create bridges between students' homes and school. At times, however, there was little connection to families' funds of knowledge and sporadic critical consciousness raising. Implications for equitable science teacher development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-133
Number of pages35
JournalScience Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


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