Our aim is to build capacity at Texas State University by increasing the use of culturally relevant instructional approaches across STEM departments, and to generate new knowledge of effective change strategies that can inform efforts at Hispanic Serving Institutions and other higher education institutions.
What is culturally relevant instruction?
The terms culturally relevant instruction and culturally responsive instruction describe approaches to teaching that value and incorporate students' backgrounds, interests, and lived experiences in the classroom. Because we, as faculty, often have different cultural backgrounds than our students, developing collaborative partnerships with these students is essential for building up our use of culturally relevant instruction. Partnerships with students can enable us to critically examine and refine our classroom norms, practices, and materials in ways that help us to foster better outcomes for all students. We will provide multiple kinds of supports that will help you to develop these partnerships through the programmatic aspects of our initiative, and we encourage you to take full advantage of these supports. You can learn more about how to get involved here.
There are also many resources we can draw on to help us to begin to develop more culturally relevant instructional approaches. Educators across STEM fields have developed a wide variety of research-based instructional practices that are discipline-specific and/or work across disciplines. It is important to note that these instructional practices are not necessarily culturally relevant for our student population, as many were developed with students who are primarily white and wealthy. However, these practices do encourage communal learning and start to break down power differentials that are inherent in "traditional" lecture, and they provide some insight into how students reason about disciplinary content. As such, research-based instructional practices can be treated as building blocks that can be critically examined and adapted to improve STEM instruction for our students.
Read More about Levers for Change: An Assessment of Progress on Changing STEM Instruction (2019)
Read More about What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education (2019)
Read More about How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures (2018)
Read More about Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015)
Read More about Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action
Read More about Partnerships for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE)
Read More about Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)
Read More about Mathematical Association of America Instructional Practices Guide
Read More about Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs Report
Read More about PhysPort: Supporting physics teaching with research-based resources
Please note that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of resources - we are confident that many more exist! If you know of an additional instructional resource that you would like us to include, feel free to email it to us at STEMCommunities@txstate.edu.
Professional Organizations with Additional Resources
In addition to exploring the resources above, we encourage you to engage with other professional development opportunities, resources, and professional communities and contribute what you learn to our local efforts. These are some suggestions of organizations that focus on supporting Hispanic and other racial minority students and/or students in specific STEM disciplines.