Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor/Committee Member

Cher Edwards

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Nyaradzu Mvududu

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Amy Robertson

Keywords

situated cognition, grounded theory, diversity, inclusive, physics

Abstract

Different teaching and learning strategies have informed physics educators on addressing the cultural meanings and practices of physics that have sustained homogeneity within university programs. However, literature evidence physics learning environments are under-theorized in dismantling homogeneity and conceptually changes physics student learning for those struggling to learn physics. The purpose of this situational analysis grounded theory study was to explain a theoretical construct of inclusive physics learning environment strategies of eighteen college and university faculty, collected from interview data in a 2017 study. The research question guiding this study was to describe the sociocultural theoretical structure emergent in the inclusive physics learning environment interview data. Situational analysis grounded theory (Charmaz, 2014, Clarke et al, 2018) was used to analyze eighteen semi-structured interviews with university physics educators from multiple institutions and programs. During the analysis, two situated epistemic modes, physics as content and as a sociocultural orientation were found to act as an organizing center of the inclusive physics theoretical framework. Findings suggest that the foundation of the inclusive physics learning environment was that power, defined as the ability to negotiate and reify ideas and norms, functioned dialectically with the physics social world. Meaning, inclusive practices were acquired through the physics social world and were often reflective of an instructor’s lived experience. Based on these findings, this study agrees with existing science education and learning science scholarship that questions the lack of a critical approach and an over individualized unit of analysis in sociocultural research regarding diversity and inclusion. The findings of this study go further by revealing the organizing process described as not passive or neutral, but intentionally formational, social, and structural. This study likely serves as a pilot framework for furthering the study of inclusion and physics, and the learning environments which may lead to unseating racialized and gendered physics

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