Thanks for taking the time to read and provide feedback. This is a one-page document overview on my research. The audience is a general audience but I also will use some of this for a conference proposal. My goal is to the have the conference proposal written before the second time I get to workshop my work.
I wrote this piece yesterday and I am trying to not think about it too much since this is where I sometimes get stuck.
I would like feedback on:
- What is it effective to lead with the statement of the problem or should I lead with the statement about the purpose of the research?
- Was I effective and/or what can I do to have a consistent through line about some of the issues students of color face in science and the potential role of museums?
- Do I make a case for why this topic is important in the to a larger audience outside of science education? Or Did I make the case for why anyone should care about this besides me?
- Do my paragraphs have clear transitions?
- Any comments, questions or wonderings that you have about the research?
Research Project: Recent MAT Graduates Integration of Museum Resources in Science Instruction and Effect on Student Learning
Schools are challenging places for teaching and learning. For many students, this is evident in examining the demographics of New York City public school graduation rates. Over the past five years, New York City four-year high school graduation rates increased from 60 to 65 percent for Blacks and 58 to 64 percent for Hispanics, but lag 18 to 20 percent behind Asian and White graduation rates (NYC DOE, 2016). At college, in science, the difference is magnified with significant racial differences in who majors in science (NGSS, 2014). Non-dominant groups such as females, Blacks and Hispanics are not proportionally represented in the population in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
For teachers, teaching is complicated. Engaging students, figuring out how to make content relevant, and navigating school demands are some of the challenges for first year teachers. New science teachers are asked to translate content in a way that promotes questions, inquiry and discussion in classrooms often void of materials. Museums’ have the potential to be a conduit for teachers’ own learning and for making content relevant to students. This is especially true in large urban cities where there is access to a multitude of informal science learning institutions.
In urban settings, informal science institutions (ISEs) are numerous and have the potential to support student learning. Research from the National Research Council on Learning Science in Informal Environments (2009) suggests when non-dominant groups in science benefit from resources and learning experiences in and out of the classroom. In particular, students develop science skills and understanding or “sense making” of science concept (2009). In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that females and people of color engage more in active learning compared to lecture format learning (Eddy & Hogan, 2014). Museums and other informal science educations institutions (ISEIs) have the potential of engaging students and providing relevancy to students’ lives and community. The museum affords opportunities for active learning that could benefit non-dominant groups in K-12 science education.
In 2011, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Urban Residency Program at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) launched the first urban teacher residency program offered by a museum. This 15-month program addresses a critical shortage of qualified earth science teachers in New York State, particularly in high-needs schools with diverse populations. This study seeks to understand how the AMNH MAT graduates teaching in New York City schools are using museum resources in a unit of study and the effect on student learning.
The purpose of this research is to understand how graduates of the Museum’s Master of Arts in Teaching are able to take the knowledge, skills, and pedagogy of using museum resources and informal learning experiences into their instruction and how students are learning science from these experiences. For this study, a museum resource is the physical setting of the museum, objects, pedagogy, and people assets for learning while in the AMNH MAT program. For example, resources such as rocks and minerals, multimedia resources, exhibitions and dioramas, field research collections, work with scientists, and engaging in museum pedagogical strategies.
At the core of the MAT program is a belief and commitment to using museum resources for teacher residents’ own learning and to transfer this learning into their classroom. If these teachers use museum resources for their learning and engagement then it holds that a MAT program that produces a novice science teacher who has been exposed to 36 credits of science and education courses, a museum and teacher residency, and science field research during a 15- month program and an additional two years of professional development after graduation, that there would be evidence of this in their classroom and teaching.
I am proposing to investigate three hypotheses. First, my hypothesis is that teachers who have participated in a 15-month teacher residency program at the Museum and who are in involved in the Museum Induction program will be able to transfer using museum resources and learning experiences in a unit of study in their science classroom. Second, I also hypothesize that these resources will strengthen student engagement and science understanding. Finally, I hypothesize if these resources foster student engagement with non-dominant groups in science that may instill hope for new teachers that are vulnerable to attrition.
- How do MAT teachers use museum resources in a unit of study?
- What are the particular resources or strategies for learning in informal environments that are more or less successful?