Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Currin

Abstract

This action research case study explores the impact of a culturally and socially diverse Advanced Placement Chemistry curriculum on student and teacher experiences. This study emerged due to my lack of multicultural teaching practices, which limited meaningful connections for students of diverse backgrounds. Once aware of this deficiency, I created four thematic units that blended chemistry content with aspects of culturally relevant pedagogy and social reconstructionism. Surveys, reflection logs, observations, and a focus group interview captured data related to student and teacher experiences throughout the intervention period, which suggest the culturally relevant pedagogy supported students’ understanding of content, increased student engagement, shaped both immediate and long-term perspectives, and led to improved classroom relationships. Additional benefits for me as a teacher included improved relationships with students, improved confidence, and improved awareness of cultural biases in my teaching practices. Based on these outcomes, I recommend that educators use problem-based approaches to support critical investigations, student presentations to support student choice and meaningful self-reflection, and an overall expansion of culturally relevant themes in other curricula to encourage and support personally meaningful and relevant connections for students.

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