Education and Race
STEM Brief Steers Teachers on Confronting Racism in Science Teaching
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A new STEM
teaching brief offers guidance on dismantling
institutional and system racism in the K-12 science classroom.
Published by the Institute
for Science + Math Education at the University
of Washington College of Education, the short report
pointed out that teachers play a big role in changing the "racist
legacies of STEM and schooling," through a combination of
"examining [their] own prejudices" and embedding racial
justice into their instructional practices.
Contrary to what we
might think, the authors noted, science isn't the "objective and
neutral" discipline we might consider it to be. "Science is
a subjective human endeavor shaped by issues of power and
oppression," the brief stated. For example, the idea that
individuals are responsible for leaps in scientific accomplishment
ignores the more common atmosphere of "community-based endeavor"
and integration of "past and present" that generates
knowledge for many communities of color.
Along with links to
additional resources, the brief offered three recommendations for
partners to support them as they do self-reflection and learn about
race, racism, anti-Blackness and other issues of oppression "with
everyone you can, in all contexts"; and
their science learning activities in light of how how those might
"reflect specific value systems, potential identities and
The brief is openly
the STEM Teaching Tools website run by the Institute.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.