This study is relevant to educators seeking to expand science practices and discourse in their programs for youth. The author finds that a lack of understanding of everyday communication patterns of African-American students leads many science teachers to shut down students just as they are beginning to express interest and active involvement in the science classroom. The result may be orderly looking classrooms, but the youth have in fact “checked out” and are merely following procedures. This paper presents a framework for analyzing various levels of authentic involvement in the science classroom, and is an important resource for ISE educators seeking to engage urban youth in structured science education programs.
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