"But I Grew Up Here!" Science Inquiry, Pedagogy and Technology Through a Sociocultural Lens
Meyer, Brian R.
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The majority of students in the urban setting are considered underrepresented. These students frequently perform below their proficiency level on standardized tests locally and nationally. If we treat education as the ticket out of the culture of poverty that underrepresented students find themselves, it is incumbent upon us to find pedagogical, content, and cultural methods that allow for these students to achieve at a high level. The purpose behind this case study was to determine the pedagogical, content and cultural knowledge of two urban junior high school science teachers with the specific intention of drawing on the mitigating factors in the use, or non-use, of technology by these respective classroom teachers. Participants in this case study included two teachers both of whom teach 7th and 8th grade science in the urban setting. Their students are deemed to be underachieving by local and state measures of assessment, and the schools in which they teach are both considered low on measures of socioeconomic status. Data were collected over an academic year and included: teacher and student interviews, classroom video recordings, student work, teacher plans, and researcher field notes. These data were analyzed using an inductive approach and a constant-comparative method. The teachers shared their beliefs about the schools and district in which they teach, about the students they teach, and about their own upbringing. These female teachers had many demographics in common, including the duration of their teaching careers, their age, their content area, their time teaching in the district, and their professed caring for their students and their students’ success. Where they contrasted, however, was in their own educational background at the grade school level - one teacher grew up in a middle class suburban home while the other was raised in the urban setting. Another difference was in their early choice of career, as the suburban teacher knew she wanted to teach science while the urban teacher chose science from a marketability standpoint. Results from this study indicate that both teachers and students have established belief sets of what good teaching looks like, and both are able to know when those practices do not match the professed beliefs. Results from this study could play a significant role in the types of teachers that are hired in the urban setting. These results may also speak to the importance level that a school district places on professional development versus technological implementation.