A Culturally Responsive Literacy Approach to Develop Scientific Conceptual Knowledge through Creative Narratives

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Journal of Educational Research and Practice






Our study examined the effects of culturally responsive literacy pedagogical approaches in the development of scientific vocabulary and conceptual knowledge among minoritized middle-grade students during a summer program. We describe the design and implementation of a literacy-enriched STEM instructional unit of study built upon the background experiences of Latina/Latino migrant farmworkers’ children to expand their STEM literacy skills and knowledge. Our aim with this unit was to increase the students’ science knowledge and skills; strengthen their mathematical abilities; enhance their ability to use technology for research; and improve their academic vocabulary, language, and writing skills. This program also had as an objective to explore the students’ self-perceptions regarding science learning. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from the students’ pre- and postsurveys, pre- and post-tests, assignments, and group interview. The results demonstrated significant improvements in the students’ vocabulary and conceptual understandings. The students developed an awareness of the interrelation of science, math, technology, and literacy with their background experiences, expanded their interest in science, and increased their ability to write effectively about STEM topics. These results also highlighted the significance of connecting STEM instruction with both background knowledge and possible careers via out-of-school efforts like this program to increase minoritized students’ interest in pursuing STEM careers.


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