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STEM21

Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation

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Edited By Joy Barnes-Johnson and Janelle M. Johnson

STEM21: Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation is designed to contribute to discourses about how STEM teaching and learning can become more equitable, serving the needs of readers across the STEM educational spectrum. STEM21 is meant to problematize the status quo educational practices of STEM stakeholders including preservice and inservice teachers, district leaders, informal educators, policy makers, and the research community. While many books are narrowly targeted either for academics or practitioners, the outcome is limited dialogue between and across those spaces. This volume weaves together field-based research, personal narrative, and education theory, while providing for reflection and discussion. STEM21: Equity in Teaching and Learning to Meet Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation is undergirded by the principle that engaged STEM education accommodates theory and practice that is equitable, rejects deficit model thinking, and is community relevant. Equitable STEM pedagogy builds autonomous pathways to learning; creates a culture of questioning and transparency; celebrates diversity of thought, habit and culture; and embraces a social justice stance on issues of race, class, gender, environmental responsibility, health, and access to resources.

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Chapter One: 21st c LEASE: Language of Equity and Access to STEM Education (Joy Barnes-Johnson)

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CHAPTER ONE

21st c LEASE

Language of Equity and Access to STEM Education

JOY BARNES-JOHNSON1



Abstract

The title of this chapter is both an acronym1 and a principle for the present policy discussion. A lease is a contract or agreement between at least two parties—one having authority (agency) and one with less—about a commonly shared interest. This agency creates both tension and opportunity. These two notions, (1) the tension between negotiating entities and (2) the opportunity to “co-” (co-author, co-operate, co-labor) has specific relevance in the 21st century and forms the basis for this chapter. In this analysis of history and policy, I present a perspective on this contract (the initial promises,2 various trusts and subsequent breaches) as it relates to STEM education in the 100-year shift between Dewey’s Democracy in Education (originally published in 1916) and now. Dewey warned us of the dangerous products of schooling without usefulness—egoistic specialists.3 He recognized that science teaching in particular was only useful if learning involved full engagement of the learner: “a mode of practice” based on accumulated observations and ← 19 | 20 → self-directed understanding. Describing “science as experience becoming rational,”4 very early in the establishment of “democratic education” as a moral guideline for subject-matter instruction, Dewey points us toward equitable practices that are constructivist, non-hierarchical, inquiry-based and experiential. He even blurred the lines created by disciplinary boundaries seeing literature and history and art...

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