There exists a need to generate more interest within urban youth in the STEM subjects. In addition, there is a need to improve upon urban youth’s knowledge acquisition of concepts found in STEM curricula.
The problem is that STEM curriculum is steeped in the framework of traditional, Western culture and lacks content that is steeped in critical or culturally relevant pedagogy. The result is that teaching strategies around STEM content in even the most inclusive of classrooms often become ineffective in fostering urban youth’s passions for the STEM subjects. In addition, the majority of teaching practitioners do not have the necessary tangible tools to deliver STEM content that contains a critical pedagogy framework.
Solutions to this problem are not widespread, well known, and consequently lie within individual teachers’ heads. This is the primary challenge.
A first step to connecting students' experiences to the content you have in your curriculum is by spending time with the student in their culture. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways: connect to the parents through digital media, spending time in the students' neighborhoods, asking students to bring in photos of their activities they do with their families and in extracurricular activities, and a host of other ways.
Click here for a more in depth unpacking of this idea:
Click here for a preview of the prototype: