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  1. Eli Tucker-Raymond
  2. Research Associate Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University
  1. dana dunwoody
  2. https://sites.bu.edu/earlcenter/
  3. Postdoctoral Fellow
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Boston University
  1. Katherine Frankel
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University
  1. Cliff Freeman
  2. Boston University
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University, Young People's Project
  1. Rehnuma Kabir
  2. Undergraduate Research Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University
  1. Ryan Koa
  2. Undergraduate Research Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Boston University
  1. Maria Olivares
  2. http://www.mcolivares.com
  3. Research Assistant Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Boston University

STEM Literacies, Learning, and Identities through Cascading Models of Near-Pe...

NSF Awards: 2000511

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Informal / multi-age

STEM Cascades is exploring the impact on youth STEM and teaching identity and learning when they act as teachers, facilitators, and mentors for other youth. The project is three years and is working with school and community-based organizations that employ youth in these capacities. We are interested in the ways in which organizations create programmatic structures to contribute to youth learning and identity development. Additionally our project aims to explore the construct of youth pedagogical development.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (10 posts)
  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Lead Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 11:49 a.m.

    If you are currently over 18 and have ever served as a youth (14-24) mentor, teacher, STEM camp counselor, explainer, take this anonymous survey for a chance to win $100. https://bostonu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dg1CXBIefFzbysJ

    If you know of any programs that are aligned with what we describe here, please leave their names in the comments or feel free to share the survey with them. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Barry Fishman

    Barry Fishman

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 04:53 p.m.

    What a lovely project - I really like the "cascades" metaphor. And I like the meta-knowledge of learning and pedagogy you are working to instill in youth. You briefly mentioned Covid-19 in the video, and that you adapted. Were there any adaptations that you think are actually "improvements" to be continued after we return to in-person school?

  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Lead Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 02:17 p.m.

    Hi Barry, 

    Thanks for your question. Our project was intended to be basic research, that is to find out how youth enaged other youth in learning and what structures programs put in place to support that. Our shift has been mostly in our research focus, which now includes a national survey (see comment above) and a commitment to helping our partner programs and schools with design.

    With that said, and I don't know if this is an "improvement" but as many of us have learned, facilitating online workshops is a different kind of teaching and as youth have had to adapt to that this past year, we think they have learned new kinds of communication skills, different ways of presenting information and engaging audiences than with in-person learning alone. So perhaps we have seen youth add even more skills to their repertoires.

  • Icon for: Margie Vela

    Margie Vela

    Facilitator
    Senior Program Manager
    May 12, 2021 | 10:56 a.m.

    Mentorship is such a powerful avenue for diversifying the STEM enterprise, and this project does this well! the project uses peer and near-peer mentoring in STEM. I have a few questions about your design:

    Do your peer mentees become the mentors?

    Are there any peer mentors that have not been mentees in your project as mentees? 

    If you have both, have you noted any differences in the way they approach their roles as mentors? 

    Finally, have you recorded any of the changes in mentors through this experience (i.e. science identity, STEM persistence, interpersonal skill development)?

    Great project!!!

  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Lead Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 02:26 p.m.

    Hi Margie,

    Thanks for your interest! So we are working with partners that have had long-standing programs (The Young People's Project and Learn2Teach, Teach2Learn) and yes, they most certainly have both had mentees become mentors and welcomed new mentors as mentees. For example, one of our team members, PhD student Cliff Freeman, was a High School Math Literacy Worker in 2011-2012 with The Young People's Project and has been the Greater Boston site director for the past several years.

    At this point, your questions about differences and changes are both part of our ongoing research questions. One thing we can say is that as young people become teachers they learn just how much they do not know about a subject and that can come across on research instruments as a "loss" of self-confidence or a negative shift in identity. But at the same time, they become better teachers through the humility that learning brings and it ultimately positively affects their identities in both the subject and in being teachers. What is unique about people who persist, or who move from mentees to mentors is that what primarily drives them is not only the subject matter but also the contributions they believe they are making to their communities.

  • Icon for: Brian Foley

    Brian Foley

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 10:59 a.m.

    This is great. Having youth instructors who are enthusiastic about STEM can make a huge difference in students attitudes. They make it cool to be a geek! It is probably even more impactful for the instructors who can really develop their identity as a scientist/technologist and as a leader. I like the Youth Pedagogical Development construct. What sort of outcomes have you seen so far?

    I worked on something like this years ago called the Scratch Squad - where we had teenagers teach coding to younger kids. I see the website is still up but I don't think that group is still active. But I do still hear from some of the instructors from that program.

  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Lead Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 11:03 p.m.

    Hi Brian,

    You know, I think leadership skills are really important outcomes of this work. At YPP, one of our partners, they have a framework that is LTLO: Learning, Teaching, Leading, Organizing. One important aspect is that they lead each other.

    In terms of outcomes, I think we learn that relationships, particularly those established among young people, are significant contributors to individual identities and literacies in STEM learning environments.

    Scratch Squad members sound like exactly the kinds of folks we want to get in touch with! If you still speak to anyone, please let them know about our survey (located up top)!

    -eli

  • May 14, 2021 | 02:42 p.m.

    Neat project! We all had to learn how to communicate and share ideas differently during COVID-19, and I'm sure this affected how youth mentors were able to interact with their students/mentees. Did this create challenges when building these relationships? And were there certain solutions that you found most effective? 

  • Icon for: Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Eli Tucker-Raymond

    Lead Presenter
    Research Associate Professor
    May 15, 2021 | 12:08 a.m.

    Hi Benjamin,

    Thanks for your interest! Young people know how to engage other young people. They can hype each other up online in ways adults just can't. And, when young people don't understand what is being asked of them, they can more easily tap another young person than the adult. These things I don't think are new. So why are students still expected to be responsible for themselves? They can be responsible for each other. But also, and this is no surprise, those relationships that were strong before moving exclusively online fared much better than new ones formed online.

    -eli

     
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    Benjamin Walters
  • Icon for: Monica Cardella

    Monica Cardella

    Funder
    May 18, 2021 | 06:42 p.m.

    Thanks for creating this video to share your work!

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