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Mark Enfield and Teaching Fellow alum Sara Rosenthal '16 collaborate on book about science education

Enfield, associate professor of education worked with Rosenthal to write “Taking science home: Reflexivity on becoming a teacher insider in an afterschool science program,” a book about their efforts to bring science learning to local children in an informal after-school program. The book narrates their efforts to become insiders in the social and cultural context, their learning as teachers, and the ways that science learning mediated between the children, teachers, context and content through the after-school program.

Extensive work to provide science programming to area children participating in an after-school program has led to a new book written and published by an Elon faculty member and alumna.

Through support of Elon’s PACE Program and with encouragement from the Elon Teaching Fellows inquiry requirement, Mark Enfield, associate professor of education, working with Sara Rosenthal '16, who majored in special education and elementary education as a teaching fellow, collaborated to provide four years of weekly after-school science programming to area children.

Working in two different afterschool contexts, the team planned and taught weekly science lessons. Every week, after the sessions ended, Enfield and Rosenthal each wrote reflections on the day and compiled these during the year. The result was a book published by Brill/Sense publishers available now here

The book narrates the experiences of the two teachers creating and leading an elementary after-school science program at a public housing authority community. The narrative employs a reflexive ethnographic approach to examine the reflections of each teacher during one academic year. The result is an exploration of the teachers’ understandings of socially just teaching, their pedagogical transformations and a vision of how science as a discipline was important in terms of enacting a culturally sustaining pedagogy.

The reflexive ethnographic perspective enables consideration of the implications of teachers’ positionality in teaching science to marginalized and/or underrepresented students in informal learning contexts.

Through these examinations, the book explains how collaboration was vital in the teachers’ efforts to become insiders in the setting and engage in culturally sustaining pedagogy. The book also narrates the teachers’ development leading to articulation of a framework identified as the zone of pedagogical potential.

Finally, the book uses the teachers’ reflections to consider the affordances of learning science. The book concludes with a discussion of the implications from this research for promoting equitable practices in informal settings, as well as the potential for those practices being useful in formal settings.

Mark Enfield,
12/12/2017 6:45 AM