Practice Brief 79

How can we confront and dismantle systemic racism through science learning?

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Why it Matters to You
  • Teachers have power and responsibility to change racist legacies of STEM and schooling by engaging in self-work, learning more about racial justice and science education, and centering racial justice in their curriculum and pedagogy.
  • District Staff & PD Providers should work collaboratively with educators to engage in cycles of critical reflection and learning designed to incorporate racial justice topics into science teaching and learning.
  • Educational Leaders should support educators in connecting with peers and colleagues to collaborate, identify resources, and become accountable in their racial justice efforts.

What is the Issue?

Science is often seen as objective and neutral; however, science is a subjective human endeavor shaped by issues of power and oppression. Science teaching and learning often leaves untouched a status quo that threatens the physical, emotional, psychological, and intellectual well-being of historically minoritized learners, especially students from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Science educators must consider questions of racial injustice and anti-Blackness in the history of science, dominant assumptions about what counts as science, representations of who engages in scientific practices, and how we teach these topics.

Authors:

BY MELISSA BRAATEN, DANELLE FOSTER, JASON FOSTER, RAE JING HAN, DÉANA SCIPIO & ENRIQUE SUÁREZ; EDITED BY: DEB L. MORRISON & PHILIP BELL | OCTOBER 2021


Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


Supplemental Materials to go with STEM Teaching Tool 79:



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This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Research + Practice Collaboratory (Award #1238253). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.

Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.