Collaborative Research: Reimagining Educator Learning Pathways Through Storywork for Racial Equity in STEM

June 15th, 2023 - May 31st, 2028 | PROJECT

There is a pressing need for STEM educator learning models to substantively consider the diversity of STEM practices and values across social and cultural contexts, as well as how STEM fields are adapting to this diversity. As educators seek more meaningful approaches to equity that integrate everyday pedagogies, there is a further need to address how these pedagogies often reproduce inequitable STEM structures. This collaborative project seeks to address these challenges by designing, implementing, and studying an educator learning model that helps educators recognize and transform the moment-to-moment learning interactions that perpetuate racial inequalities across a myriad of STEM contexts. The project therefore aims to achieve two primary outcomes. First, to deepen educators' capacity to mediate the moment-to-moment tensions that arise between STEM concepts and practices privileged in schools, and those that attend to students' cultural and intellectual lives; and second, to generate knowledge on how to systematically support educators as they wrestle with the conceptual and ethical complexities of unjust STEM teaching and learning.

This three-year study is structured around a series of modules grounded in storywork, an Indigenous knowledge-systems approach to centering minoritized learners' language, history, phenomenon-based storylines, and their racialized experiences of systemic racism when co-designing STEM learning opportunities. Through long-standing partnerships between project leaders and K-12 and higher education STEM educators serving Indigenous, Black, and Latinx youth and families, the iterative design of modules is informed by the analysis of educator learning trajectories when codesigning through storywork. In addition to incorporating modules into higher education programs (e.g., teacher education and various STEM disciplinary courses), broadly sharing resources and tools with communities, practitioners, and researchers through multimedia outlets as well as academic and practitioner-facing publications and presentations, the project has the potential to inform foundational theory on developing highly adaptable approaches for more racially- and educationally- just educator-student interactions in STEM spaces.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Carrie Tzou, Principal Investigator, University of Washington
Megan Bang, Principal Investigator, Northwestern University
Shirin Vossoughi, Co-Principal Investigator, Northwestern University
Paula Hooper, Co-Principal Investigator, Northwestern University
Beth Warren, Principal Investigator, Boston University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL); Discovery Research K-12 (DRK12)
Award Number: 2224594
Funding Amount: $1,106,513

Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL); Discovery Research K-12 (DRK12)
Award Number: 2224595
Funding Amount: $666,618

Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL); Discovery Research K-12 (DRK12)
Award Number: 2224593
Funding Amount: $1,034,751


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Learning Researchers
Discipline: General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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