Rachel and Charlie get mindful about STEM

Rachel and Charlie get mindful about STEM

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This summer we’re looking at the effect
of a mindfulness exercise in stem classrooms on group work. We see in stem
classrooms that there’s a differential experience for students especially
underrepresented and minority students and first-generation students and one of
the areas that we think that we as faculty members can play a huge role in
improving this in making our STEM classrooms a lot more inclusive and
welcoming to everybody is to look at the ways in which we use group work. So I was approached by Rachel to join a research group of the fall semester of 2017 and
it was something I really thought about cause as an education major and a
science major this both fit things that I’m passionate about and I’ve been
able to experience group work within the classroom especially in STEM fields such
as chemistry and in my intro human biology and I think I haven’t taken a
biology course without group work so this is something I feel like was it’s
actually going to make a difference and we can make a difference overall and so
um the questions that Charlie’s looking at or the responses that Charlie is
looking at this summer are in response to simple questions at the beginning and
the end of every single class. In particular we ask the students what are
they going to do to be an effective member of a group today and then at the
end of class we ask them how that went basically and so we think of this as a
mindfulness exercise because we’re recognizing that or we’re asking
students to recognize that they themselves have a role in how their
group functions and we’re asking them to be aware of that as they come into the group and to then reflect on it as they
leave the group so this whole summer I began by reading over all the
responses of the students in the chose they’re like pre and post stories and
questions that have been answered by the students and I went over them the first
time just to get a general idea of what was happening or what was said in these
surveys we were able to break it down to three categories personal class work and
group work and personal it’s like how their emotions are how they’re feeling
about the day anything that just involves individual itself. Class work is
just anything that has to do with the class work itself like lectures, taking
notes and group work is actual like getting which how the group is
interacting with each other. And then we’ll ultimately get a graph that says we had this many of responses that were about group work, this many people talking about personal, and this many
people talking about class work and I think that this is a broader interest of
mine being a woman in stem and having had my own experiences of being in
difficult male-dominated spaces throughout my career. Learning how to
navigate that and thinking about the ways in which my experience has been
shaped by negative experiences within the field and thinking about how I want
to not only as stem educator give students a
really solid base of knowledge in stem but also to provide them with tools to
navigate the spaces that they’re going to be going through.

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