"Energy is...Life": Meaning Making Through Dialogue in a Tribal College Physics Course
AuthorAntonellis, Jessica Christel
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis research is an exploration of students' meaning making around physical concepts through connections to students' funds of knowledge. This qualitative case study, influenced by Indigenous methodologies, focused on two Native students in a tribal college introductory physics course, exploring the personal, cultural, and philosophical connections that were voiced in dialogic interactions among the students and instructor. The data were collected through audio recordings of class sessions and reflective journaling by the instructor/researcher. Analysis identified dialogues in which meaning making took place, and the funds of knowledge that students brought to bear on these dialogues. The results of the analysis of these meaning-making occasions are presented by physical concept. For both students, the cultural connections they brought in were ways for them to incorporate their out-of-class identities and to consider their cultures from a scientific perspective. The influence of the students' personal connections was just as important as that of the cultural connections; the shared classroom context was also a valuable resource in the for collaborative meaning making. Both students both enjoyed examining the philosophical and spiritual implications of physical ideas; these dialogues provided windows into students' thinking that would not have been accessible in other ways. The students also made meanings about the nature of science that meshed with their identities and created a space for them to identify as scientists, and both came to view science as part of their cultural heritage. Allowing students free reign to make connections and empowering them to make decisions about their own learning were means of encouraging students to develop meaningful conceptual understanding. By investigating the meanings students made around physical content, we can learn about what motivates them, what is important to them, and potentially how to structure curricula that will better support their meaning making in other courses.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies