Plenary Speech

Okhee Lee

New York University, USA

Okhee Lee is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She was a member of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) writing team and served as leader for the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team. She was also a member of the Steering Committee for the Understanding Language Initiative at Stanford University. She is currently leading collaborative research with Stanford University to develop instructional materials aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in order to promote science learning and language learning of elementary students including English learners. She is also leading collaborative research with MIT and Vanderbilt University to integrate computational thinking and modeling in NGSS-aligned instructional materials.


Plenary summary : Integrating STEM and Language with All Students, Including Second Language Learners Three emerging forces are shaping the landscape of STEM education: growing student diversity, increasing academic rigor of content standards, and advancing technological innovations. The convergence of broadening participation in STEM subjects through technological innovations represents the lives of students and teachers in classrooms and informal educational settings. As disciplinary practices in STEM subjects (e.g., develop models, argue from evidence, construct explanations) are language intensive, engagement in these practices presents both learning opportunities and demands to all students, especially second language learners. The presentation will address contemporary perspectives on how to integrate science learning, language learning, and computational thinking with a focus on second language learners. First, the presentation will briefly describe science and language instructional shifts. Second, it will describe integrating computational thinking and modeling into science instruction. Finally, using the COVID-19 pandemic, it will describe how to integrate data science and computer science to make sense of complex societal issues while addressing systemic racism. Using classroom examples, the presentation will highlight the mutually supportive nature of instructional shifts in STEM and language with all students, including second language learners.

Angela Calabrese-Barton

University of Michigan, USA

Angela Calabrese Barton is Professor in STEM Education and the Learning Sciences at the University of Michigan. She received her BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and her PhD from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Her research focuses on issues of equity and justice in STEM education in school and community settings. She studies the design of learning environments, including pedagogies and approaches in support of justice-centered expansive learning outcomes such as critical agency, identity work, and social transformation (as grounded within expanding STEM expertise), and methodologies for embracing “research + practice” work that attends to practitioner and youths voices and engages the goals of equity and justice. A former chemistry teacher, she has also designed and taught community-based STEM for over two decades in homeless shelters and community organizations in different US cities. Calabrese Barton has served as a WT Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow and is a Fellow of the American Education Research Association. She is Co-Editor of the American Educational Research Journal and is former Co-Editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Calabrese Barton’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the WT Grant Foundation.


Plenary summary : Bringing a Justice Orientation to K-12 STEM Teaching & Learning Addressing the ways in which systemic injustices manifest in local classroom practice has been a significant challenge to the study of equity in teaching and learning. The dominant discourses of equity are framed around calls for inclusion, grounded in the extension of a set of rights for quality learning opportunities for all students. In this presentation, I argue for rightful presence as a new framework to study justice-oriented teaching and learning (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2019). This approach exposes the limits of contemporary equity frameworks as enacting inclusionary practices that nevertheless still reproduce entrenched hierarchies. For STEM teaching to be justice-oriented, it needs to address these sociopolitical dimensions of teaching and learning. That is, it needs to address the ways in which historicized injustices manifest in systems of power that play out in local classroom practice as part of STEM-based education. In this seminar I share insights from a five year project, where working in community-engaged Research+Practice partnerships in two cities, we sought to co-design pedagogies and practices that are a) rooted in the history and geographies of young people’s lives in ways that b) support rigorous engagement with and connections among disciplinary knowledge/practice, community, and broader social issues in pursuit of c) transformative individual and systemic outcomes towards justice-oriented ends (e.g., explicitly disrupting unequal political norms as a part of learning and orienting toward new social futures). I present cases from this collaborative work, as we sought to understand and disrupt the political and structural continuities that shape life in classrooms, and envision ways to transform them towards more powerful teaching and learning. In sharing cases I hope to present both insights and dilemmas regarding what justice-oriented teaching may look like, what it entails, and its possibilities among teachers and students. I also discuss implications of this stance for new approaches to studying and supporting justice-oriented teacher learning and teacher education.