Plenary Speaker Profile (2018)
Angela Calabrese Barton
Professor, Department of Teacher Education
Michigan State University
“Teachers care…But us kids got to help them”: Imagining and enacting equitably consequential teaching and learning

Persistent inequalities remain in access and opportunities in STEM for youth from historically marginalized communities. However, with few exceptions, the dominant equity focus has been on supporting individual participation and learning opportunities. This individual focus does not necessarily disrupt systemic injustices and the ways in which systemic forces shape classroom practice.

In this presentation, I draw upon a critical justice perspective and two large studies of teaching and learning STEM in both out-of-school and in schools, to build a case for new tools and approaches that supports and promotes more equitably consequential experiences and outcomes for learners. By equitable I refer to teaching practices that expand opportunities for all youth to engage in STEM in culturally sustaining and rigorous ways. By consequential I suggest that such opportunities also promote transformative outcomes aimed at addressing systemic inequalities and their interactions in classroom practice, such as supporting student agency and disrupting power dynamics in classrooms, STEM and in society.

I will present cases from my collaborative research with teachers and youth in historically marginalized urban communities as we sought to understand and disrupt the political and structural continuities that shape life in classrooms, envision ways to transform them, and the impacts they had on student learning and engagement. In sharing cases I will present both insights and dilemmas regarding what equitably consequential teaching and learning may look like and its possibilities among teachers and students. I also discuss implications of this stance for new approaches to designing for empowering and just learning environments.

Angela Calabrese Barton is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. Her research is grounded in the intersections of teaching and learning science with an emphasis on equity and social justice. Her recent work takes place within three interrelated strands: 1) working within the intersection of formal/informal education in support of understanding and designing new possibilities for equitably consequential teaching and learning; 2) designing teaching learning tools and experiences that promote more expansive learning outcomes, such as critical agency, identity work, and social transformation (as grounded within expanding disciplinary expertise); and 3) methodologies for embracing authentic “research + practice” work that attends to practitioner and youth voice, and critically engages the goals of equity and justice. Calabrese Barton is currently a WT Grant Distinguished Fellow, a Fellow of the American Education Research Association, and also the former co-Editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Some of her publications appear in Educational Researcher, the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, and the Journal of the Learning Sciences.