Pre-service Elementary Teach ERS Enacting a Critical Race Curriculum in Science: A Multi-case Study




Garcia, Stephanie A.

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This dissertation explores the ways in which preservice science teachers enact a critical race curriculum in majority-Latinx elementary classrooms. Even though Latinx students represent the majority in public schools, their ability to move forward in their curricular experiences are limited if teachers do not provide equitable opportunities to access academic success (Mercado, 2016). Although there is an immense body of research that includes teaching science for social justice or teacher education with a CRT lens, there is little to no research that includes critical science teacher education framed by CRT/LatCrit. It is imperative to provide traditionally disenfranchised students with a high quality and empowering science learning experience through a critical curriculum.

Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, and CRC serve as the theoretical framework for this study. CRT is the theoretical lens of this case study, LatCrit specifies who preservice science teachers seek to empower in their science learning experiences, and critical race curriculum is the curricular tool implemented in praxis. The context of this study takes place in an embedded model, where the university coursework and field work experiences are situated in a majority-Latinx community and elementary school campus. Three preservice teachers from an undergraduate science methods course serve as model cases as they demonstrate the largest transformation in teaching science for equity through their lesson plans, discussions, and interview. The data collected in this study are analyzed using Critical Discourse Analysis and constant comparison to the five tenets of a critical race curriculum.

Results include the preservice science teachers utilizing five equity moves in their pursuit of enacting a CRC. These five equity moves include: building a sense of belonging and community; leveraging prior knowledge and experiences; utilizing various learning approaches and supports; incorporating multiple disciplines and perspectives; and maintaining high expectations beliefs. Implications include the importance of creating a sense of belonging in science classrooms, utilizing expansive learning approaches and supports that lead to student success, and benefiting factors from participating in an embedded model in their teacher preparation program. This study contributes to the need for more empirical research in the field of CRT/LatCrit and science teacher preparation that render subject-matter specific applications (Tolbert, Snook, Knox, & Udoinwang, 2016).


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critical race curriculum, Critical Race Theory, elementary science, equity, LatCrit, preservice teachers



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching