Date of Award:

12-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Education

Committee Chair(s)

Sarah Braden

Committee

Sarah Braden

Committee

Emma Mecham

Committee

Sherry Marx

Abstract

This thesis investigates how students in a linguistically diverse 7th grade science lab group interact and position each other’s capabilities within a STEM context. These capabilities are discussed in terms of how the identities local to a particular 7th grade science lab group of “good student” and “scientist” are assigned, challenged, and strengthened. These interactions are instances of identities and patterns (pathways) of identities being negotiated. This thesis’ analysis focuses particularly on how the identities of being Latinx and multilingual affect these negotiations in the terms of the local identities (“good student” and “scientist”). This analysis sheds light on how Latinx students come to be underrepresented in STEM fields and how the K-12 science classroom context contributes to this marginalization. Further, this thesis offers suggestions for instructional interventions that may better support the linguistic and identity-based needs of multilingual students in English-only classrooms by shifting students’ and teachers’ perceptions towards an asset-oriented view of multilingualism.

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