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Inquiry Project

Damon Motz-Storey's picture

Tied to the work that I am doing in my Praxis placement, I would like to do an inquiry into the experiences of students of color during middle and high school in science and mathematics courses. Specifically, I want to investigate if there are correlations between how confident students of color felt/feel in math and science and how much/how little positive encouragement they received from parents, teachers, and other mentors both before and during college.

It is my guess that microagressions from established authority figures in math and science strongly contribute to feelings of ostracization for students of color in math and science. I'd like to do interviews/surveys of students of color to see if I can validate this claim for at least a small sample size. Additionally, I'd like to gauge students of color's opinions for how educators in math and science can best suit their needs as learners.

This is a rough draft of what I'd like to do for my inquiry project. I could see it changing as I learn more and investigate more, but I could see this developing into something like a podcast or a report and analysis of a survey.

I'm excited to see how this turns out!


jccohen's picture

Damon Motz-Storey,

This is an important area for investigation, and one that's pretty "hot" right now; I'd suggest that in addition to any interview research you also do some looking in the library/internet to get a sense of what's already out there.  There's undoubtedly quite a bit, but you could limit your search by focusing on middle and high school students and looking specifically for factors that encourage or inhibit confidence and/or academic achievement in these areas.  Microaggressions are certainly one factor, and the related area of stereotype threat (Claude Steele and Joshua Aaronson are key authors here) is another.  Robert Moses and the Algebra Project are also worth a look, especially for middle school students of color. 

In terms of interviews, do you know students you'd speak with?  Unless you do this via personal networks, this can be a tricky road... Let me know how you're thinking about connecting with interviewees?

I'm also excited to see how this develops!