Making Middle School Science Curriculum Lesson Plans More Culturally Relevant to Early Adolescent Ethnic Minorities
Grazutis, Ashley M., 1996--
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The changing needs of our students, such as an increased knowledge of social justice and equity issues, are gaining importance in teacher training programs as world views of social norms are broadened to address the changing demographics in schools. This is important as education needs to be relevant to all students so they can all become informed and engaged citizens. The purpose of this study was to analyze a sample of state recommended science lessons through the lens of cultural relevance (student voice, use of differentiation, language and literacy development opportunities, student access to information, connection/contextualization to students, degree of challenge in lessons, social justice examination, and student equity/decolonization) and to adapt lesson plans found deficient in the areas stated to support new expectations of differentiated instruction. The lessons were analyzed for deficiencies in cultural relevancy using a rubric adapted from the CREDE standards for Culturally Relevant activities and Jean Aguilar-Valdez’s rubric for Culturally Responsive Lessons/Assignments and then annotated with adaptations that could be made to the lesson plans in the areas that were rated Not Observed. Deficiency was determined by percentage of inter-rater agreement using a rubric with the ratings of Not Observed, Minimal, Emerging, Effective and Highly Effective. The rubric was separated into eight (8) categories, as identified earlier and inter-rater agreement was calculated. It was calculated taking the amount of people who agreed and dividing that number by the total people who agreed. If 2 out of the 3 people said an area was not observed in a lesson plan, adaptations were annotated onto the lesson plans. Further research could look into the extent to which the adaptations suggested are effective at addressing cultural relevancy in the classroom.