How African American Middle School Girls Position Themselves as Mathematics and Science Learners

By Cirecie West-Olatunji, Rose Pringle, Thomasenia Adams, Adriana Baratelli, Rachael Goodman and Sophie Maxis.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Previous research has examined African American student achievement, the mathematics and science education of girls, and schooling children in poverty. Through the lens of positionality theory, this study investigated the intersection of all three topics through an examination of African American sixth grade girls and their experience of mathematics and science primary school instruction using focus group and interview data. The findings suggest that the girls possess an awareness of the support they are provided by the school. The outcomes of this study imply the need for interventions that can sustain interest in mathematics and science education among low-income African American school girls to foster career development in this area.

Keywords: Positionality, Diversity, African American, Gender Research, Mathematics/Science Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.219-228. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 571.095KB).

Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji

Assistant Professor, Department of Counselor Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, Ph.D. currently serves as Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. Dr. West-Olatunji is also president of CCMA, an educational consulting firm dedicated to the development of programs that focus on cultural identity and awareness. As a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and author in the area of culture-centered, theory, research, and practice, she has provided consultation and training in Osaka, Hiroshima, Tottori, and Fukuoka cities in Japan in the area of culturally relevant anti-bias education for young children. Cirecie West-Olatunji has also provided educational consultation to a PBS children's television show on diversity through KCET-TV in Los Angeles, CA ("Puzzle Place"). Dr. West-Olatunji is a graduate of Dartmouth College and attended Teachers College of Columbia University where she pursued graduate studies in the area of Multicultural Counseling Psychology. Cirecie West-Olatunji is president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling & Development.

Dr. Rose Pringle

Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Rose M. Pringle is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida, Gainesville. As a science educator, her research includes the exploration of preservice teachers' positionality as science learners, the development of science specific pedagogy in both prospective and practicing science teachers, and the translation of these practices into equitable inquiry-based science experiences for all learners. Of particular interest, her quest is to increase the participation of minorities, especially girls of African descent in science related careers. As such, she is currently exploring the relationships between science teachers' and counselors' expectations, and the impact on African American girls' self-perception as science learners.

Dr. Thomasenia Adams

Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Thomasenia Lott Adams is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning. Her current research interests include teachers' mathematics content knowledge, multicultural mathematics, and mathematics as a language. She focuses on these topics through a variety of scholarly activities (e.g., research grant, manuscripts, professional development). Dr. Adams also teaches undergraduate and graduate mathematics methods courses as well as courses at the doctoral level such as Readings and Research in Mathematics Education. She is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the College of Education. In this capacity, Dr. Adams supports the graduate education efforts across the five departments in the college.

Adriana Baratelli

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Counselor Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Adriana Baratelli is fifth year doctoral candidate in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. Her research interests include body image and self-concept among South American women.

Rachael Goodman

Doctoral Student, Department of Counselor Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Rachael D. Goodman is a fourth year doctoral student in Counselor Education at the University of Florida. Her research interests include traumatic stress among socially marginalized and culturally diverse populations.

Sophie Maxis

Graduate Assistant, Alliance, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Sophie Maxis is currently a School Counseling and Guidance doctoral student in the Department of Counselor Education, College of Education at the University of Florida.

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