Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0712-3719

Date of Award

1-10-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Natalie S. King, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patrick Enderle, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Renée Schwartz, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study presents the positional identities of six Black secondary science teachers – three who identify as women and three who identify as men – with 74 years of collective science teaching experience. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences that inform Black secondary science teachers’ positional identities and how they position themselves in their school contexts. Critical race methodology grounded this research to highlight the ways in which lived experiences inform the construction of positional identities – or one’s relative positioning as informed by social markers and by relative power and agency in given cultural contexts – and how these positional identities are reflected in their current school contexts. Data sources include three semi-structured conversations with each teacher. Throughout each conversation, the teachers and researcher engaged in interactional narrative analysis, a process where narrative knowledge was co-created and then harnessed to create for each teacher a counterstory of their positional identities. The Black secondary science teachers primarily shared stories relating to becoming scientists and observing racial discrimination within the schools in which they work.

Theorization across the counterstories also revealed that the Black secondary science teachers mainly positioned themselves as teachers of students of color and as caregivers for students for color. Research implication of this study include the need for science education research to purposefully include the perspectives and expertise of Black secondary science teachers if the field is truly serious about creating science education spaces and opportunities that are equitable and inclusive. Additionally, practical implications include the need for schools to evaluate their science learning spaces to ensure that they are creating spaces that are facilitative science learning contexts that support and encourage their students of color to fully engage in and learn science at high levels, so that they will be able to access postsecondary science learning opportunities.

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