Doctor of Education
Leadership & Policy Studies
Systemic structures designed to make pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) exclusive to dominant culture, typically employ practices of exclusion or isolation of Black people. As such, the demand for more Black people, particularly Black teachers, in STEM has increased the demand for teacher preparation programs (TPP) to recruit and graduate more Black STEM teachers. This research aims to explore the critical reflections of Black STEM teachers during their TPP to understand better how they perceive the role of social identity and how they engage in critical reflection of social identity during their TPP experience. Having a better understanding of how Black STEM teachers use critical reflections about their identities is necessary to improve the Black STEM teacher pipeline. Using Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory from the lens of Freire’s Critical Reflection, this study embraces tenants of Dumas’ anti-Blackness to explore the research participants’ critical reflections about identity, belonging, and agency. The researcher collected data for this qualitative study from focus groups, social identity maps, and interviews with six research participants. Three themes were derived from a thematic analysis of the data: altruism, illusions of hierarchy, identity aligned communities, ownership of agency, and multidimensional cultural identity. These findings highlight the significance of cultural identity during the Black STEM teacher’s TPP experience. Cultural identity influences community and perception of agency. Understanding how cultural identity impacts agency is essential when planning learning outcomes and clinical experiences for Black STEM teacher candidates. The findings support the study’s conceptual framework while demonstrating how community, or sense of belonging, acts as a mediator and influences the Black STEM teacher pipeline. Future research about the critical reflections of Black STEM can use this research as a foundation to take a closer look at cultural identities.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.
Flake, Sherita, "WHEN WE THRIVE: EXPLORING THE IDENTITIES OF BLACK STEM TEACHERS DURING THEIR TEACHER PREPARATION EXPERIENCE" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3151.