Recent attention to disciplinary literacy and the STEM education movement have opened doors to new visions of disciplinary learning at the high school level. As a result, there is a growing need to better understand what disciplinary integration looks like in the classroom communities of high schools, specifically, how teachers and students integrate the disciplines of STEM in their classroom practices (Wang, 2011; Williams, 2011), and the literacies that are created and practiced within new integrated contexts (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006; Unsworth, 2008). A specific focus on literacy in science classrooms makes evident the importance of spoken and written discourse in the development and use of scientific knowledge, practices, and academic language (Brown, Reyeles, & Kelly, 2005; Brown, Ryoo, & Rodrigues, 2010; Lemke, 1990; Yore, 2000). Although there are a number of studies that have explored science literacy (e.g., Wallace, 2004) and STEM literacy (e.g., Zollman, 2012), none of these studies have applied a sociocultural definition of literacy as social practice (Barton, 1991; Scribner & Cole, 1981). This study responds to these gaps in the literature by offering an analysis of classroom discourse and the broader social and discursive practices that surround it through application of social theories of learning and literacy, and critical theories of classroom discourse. This dissertation is a presentation of results from two research studies of STEM integration discourses by breaking down the research aims into three separate manuscripts. The first essay presents the results from a yearlong investigation into two high school science teachers' efforts at STEM integration in their 9th grade physical science classrooms, in terms of the ways teachers and students positioned, negotiated, co-constructed, and disrupted disciplines within their discourse practices. Through the use of a contrasting case design (Yin, 2009), classroom observations including video and audio recordings, semi-structured interviews with teachers, and student focus groups were collected from each classroom. Findings highlight the situated nature of disciplinary integration, including the enacted social identities and lived experiences of students and teachers, the disciplinary knowledge and expertise of teachers, and the uses of multimodal pedagogies that included explicit language instruction as a means to model disciplinary discourse. The second manuscript presents a cross-case analysis of the two cases presented in chapter two, as a means to develop a grounded theory of a process of disciplinary integration. This investigation also presents the results of a critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992) of texts selected using theoretical sampling (Corbin & Strauss, 2008; Charmaz, 2014) from the broader corpus of data (Fairclough, 1992). The findings offer a process of disciplinary integration including the re-presenting, modeling and apprenticing, disrupting, and learning of disciplines through classroom discourses and discursive practices. The presented process offers the fields of disciplinary literacy and STEM education a theory of what it means to integrate disciplines that is grounded in actual classroom discourse practices. The final manuscript presents a single, embedded case (Yin, 2009) of one novice instructional coach, Madison, and her work with middle school science teachers in STEM integration efforts. The goal of this investigation was to explore the initial and evolving coaching knowledge, beliefs, and identities of a new instructional coach in order to contribute to what is known about how coaches develop. Through the use of constant-comparative analysis methods (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) of audio recordings of coaching conversations, written reflection logs, and semi-structured interviews, a full case of Madison's coaching development is presented. Findings from the analyses indicate the importance of a new coach's development of a process of coaching reasoning and action, similar to Shulman's (1987) model of pedagogical content knowledge. Also, the well-established teaching and learning identities that Madison brought into her coaching work as found to play a dominant role in the establishment of coaching roles, positional authority, and content focus for the conversations. Cross-disciplinary coaching experiences such as this one will be essential to the successful integration of the STEM disciplines in K-12 STEM education reform efforts Implications from this dissertation study reaffirmed the need for teachers to model and explicitly teach the language and discourses of the discipline, however because the practices of disciplinary integration resulted in borrowing across disciplines and undefined disciplinary communities of practice, it will be important for teachers to also draw on multiple discourses to teach disciplinary content (Lemke, 1990). These findings also add to the literature that has found the use of specific language instruction in science supports traditionally marginalized youth in learning and succeeding in science subject areas (Ciechanowski, 2009; Henrichs & Leseman, 2014; Lee & Fradd, 1998; Villanueva & Hand, 2011), however the students' uses of familiar social discourses and home languages were essential to their engagement with the science and engineering practices.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2015. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Deborah Dillon. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 218 pages.
Disciplinary Literacies in STEM Integration: An Interpretive Study of Discourses within Classroom Communities of Practice.
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