Show Less
Restricted access

Revolutionary STEM Education

Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males


Jeremiah J. Sims

Revolutionary STEM Education: Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males by Jeremiah J. Sims, an educator, researcher, and administrator from Richmond, California, is calling for a revolutionary, paradigm shift in the STEM education of and for Black boys. STEM education has been reliant on axioms and purported facts that for far too long have been delivered in a banking or absorption model that is, arguably, anti-critical. Unsurprisingly, this pedagogical approach to STEM education has failed large segments of students; and, this is especially true of African American males. Revolutionary STEM Education highlights, chronicles, and investigates the potential inroads and vistas of a Saturday Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, Male Aptitudes Nurtured for Unlimited Potential (MAN UP), which was designed to foster interest and competence in STEM by middle school Black boys. This program was impelled by a critical-reality based pedagogical approach, which was formulated to arrive at socio-academic synergy, that is, a thoughtful conjoining of students’ real life concerns, joys, ways of being, and socio-cultural identities and the curricular material covered in the courses offered at MAN UP.

Sims’ lived-experiences as an inner-city, low-income Black male are interspersed throughout Revolutionary STEM Education; however, the heartbeat of this book is, undoubtedly, the stories of the positive transformation that the MAN UP scholars experienced while becoming more competent in STEM, developing positive STEM identities, and learning to use their STEM knowledge for social justice.

Revolutionary STEM Education: Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males explores the complex relationships between learning processes, student identity development, and deep equity-focused work in an out-of-school STEM learning environment focused on Black boys. Jeremiah J. Sims provides a comprehensive view of how the MAN UP program supports Black male youth’s learning of STEM concepts, STEM identity development, and understandings of how to use STEM to affect social change in their communities, filling a sore gap in the equity-focused STEM education literature. Teacher educators and teachers (both preservice and inservice) will find the book useful for use in methods courses, professional development sessions, or professional learning communities (PLCs) to engage in teacher learning about equity-focused STEM teaching and learning; the examples of teacher-student and student-student interactions, along with guiding questions at the end of each chapter, will undoubtedly spur conversations and lesson ideas.”—Tia Madkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin

“In Revolutionary STEM Education: Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males, Jeremiah J. Sims argues that positioning students as STEM-savvy, social justice-oriented change agents increases both their STEM identity and their STEM competency. In so doing, Sims provides what STEM education truly needs. This book offers readers both description and explanation. Many contemporary research projects and text simply describe the problem with access to STEM; Sims’ text offers us a revelation. It describes the problem, explains the source of the problem, and tells us what to do about getting students critically involved in STEM.”—Bryan A. Brown, Associate Professor, Education; Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Stanford University

“At this particular historical moment, when the national security state has forced humanity to claw its way out of the structurally generated vaults of inhumanity, Jeremiah J. Sims has penned a book that addresses one of the key features of this inhumanity, the vicious attacks on black males in a country that has fallen prey to new species of racism against people of color. Calling for a dramatic shift in STEM pedagogy for black males that combines critical-reality pedagogy, critical race theory, and innovations that cut across the field of urban education, Sims cultivates a pathfinding approach to social justice. Join his paradigm-shifting revolution by reading this book.”—Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Donna Ford Attallah College of Education, Chapman University; Author of Pedagogy of Insurrection