Black female science teachers find ways to incorporate anti-racist teaching in their classrooms, according to a new study.

Examples might include teaching about the practices and systems that led to high rates of diabetes in Black communities or discussions about the Flint water crisis.

In a series of interviews and Sista Circles (group settings for Black women to develop and exchange ideas) in 2020, 18 Black women (teaching grades 5-12) shared their teaching practices and efforts to build critical consciousness among their students and colleagues, and connect history and culture to science. The findings appear in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Science education has typically been approached in a neutral, apolitical way that has failed to acknowledge inequity,” says lead author Alexis Riley, assistant professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “This work considers what science content or exploration means for students and teachers who employ their racialized, gendered, and classed experiences. It asks, how or in what ways do Black women teachers talk about their implementation of anti-racist practices through their science teaching?”

The researchers uncovered four themes in their analysis:

  • Bringing something new to the community, while acknowledging students’ norms and culture
  • Using established science curricula standards by encouraging scientific and sociological questions
  • Teaching at the intersection of history, culture, and science learning and teaching
  • Building critical consciousness in the science classroom

Read the full article about anti-racist science education by Jade McClain at Futurity.