Authentic Research, Teaching, Events, and Assessments for Economic Prosperity: The STEAM of Responsive Education

Authentic Research, Teaching, Events, and Assessments for Economic Prosperity: The STEAM of Responsive Education

Cassandra R. Decker, Merci Decker
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8032-5.ch014
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Responsive research serves as an alternative platform to address issues of human rights violations, ACEs, structural violence, and systemic poverty in particular as it relates to educational opportunities. This chapter identifies four step-by-step processes that can be used when conducting community-led research and education. Activist anthropology, studying up, studying through, and financial implications of debt foreground earlier efforts made by anthropologists to use their research as a way to examine how policy decisions shape cultural practices and impact the livelihood of specific communities. These efforts are expanded upon by examining the controversy, pitfalls, and rewards found within the epistemological paradigms and research methodologies. The second half of the chapter identifies four pathways researchers can use when engaging in activist anthropology: teaching to a goal; responsive mapping to uncover mystical barriers; community building as the goal for focus groups, interviews, and surveys; and responsive programs and events.
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Pedagogical innovations in today’s education network depend upon interdisciplinary education, eLearning, and cultural responsiveness. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) is an initiative that highlights problem-solving and initiatives serving science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. STEAM, however, lacks a culturally responsive perspective to serve students fully. Additional measures in the research process, before applying STEAM methods, can create deeper insights. These insights include the process of responsive and iterative development, teaching, and assessment for individuals and multi-generational families. Cross-sector modalities that use qualitative and quantitative cultural research methods to shape curriculum and teaching can then target the specific needs of learners and remove barriers to educational opportunities.

This chapter focuses on responsive work (engaging and adaptive practical methods) with the following objectives. By the end of this chapter, teachers and students engaging in intercultural education will be able to:

  • 1.

    Identify how cultural barriers, frameworks, and positionalities connect to responsive education.

  • 2.

    Develop a community-engaged research plan supportive of responsive teaching on all educational levels.

  • 3.

    Transfer knowledge of responsive research, teaching, and assessments to their initiatives.

  • 4.

    Identify, adapt, and replicate these tools in new contexts, as discussed in Chapter Five.

Businesses like Apple use this culturally iterative approach when designing and marketing their products. Customer feedback loops drive the production and execution of iterative versions of both software and devices (Friedman, 2020; Interactive Design Foundation, 2020). Thus, engaged, participant-driven research should be leveraged to develop educational products, like the successful approach of the private industry.

Research can be used as an iterative teaching tool. This chapter helps readers consider why and how to gather baseline research tailored to each situation and analyze the data to identify the proper modalities and content for teaching. It also describes how to focus assessments for specialized populations. Finally, utilizing engaging, participant-driven research methods establishes a baseline to more accurately evaluate an initiative.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Epistemology: A person’s worldview based on personal experiences.

Transformative Teaching: The expressed or unexpressed goal to increase students’ mastery of key course concepts while transforming their learning-related attitudes, values, beliefs, and skills.

Backward Design: A term used in education that describes how educators consider of the teaching goals first instead of learning activities, assessments, and then goals.

Responsive Research: Research methods conducted in an iterative fashion in which one method informs the execution of the next.

BarCamp: An entrepreneurial, community-led networking opportunity that is spearheaded in the region by local company, Spark Growth.

SocImpact Analytics LLC: A social impact research company specializing in needs assessments in education.

Cultural Gaslighting: A form of mental abuse in which the dominant group intentionally or unintentionally uses social and historical structural advantages to deny or subvert the level of harm a cultural group has experienced, thus presenting trauma responses as irrational or nonexistent.

DaVinci’s Faire: A technology exposition in Bradenton, Florida, that was community led and spearheaded by local company, Spark Growth.

Participant-Driven Initiatives: Methods and methodologies that are adapted to allow research participants to lead the direction, content, and methods themselves.

Mystical Barriers: Barriers to resource and service access in a community that cannot be seen without the input of community; most are non-physical barriers such as safety, emotional, etc.

Spark Growth LLC: A consulting company in Bradenton, Florida that developed BarCamp and DaVinci’s Faire.

Participatory Mapping: A research method that involves the creation of maps through various approaches. Intended to decentralize power and allow the research to be participant driven.

Community Needs Assessment: The process of identifying the current state of resources and well-being of a community and the steps necessary to reach a more desired state.

STEAM: Science, technology, engineering, arts, math.

Confirmation Bias: A tendency to interpret new information in a way to align with one’s previous beliefs or theories.

Iterative Framework: A methodological approach in which each step in the process informs the next.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): All types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that happen to people under the age of 18.

CRD Impact LLC: A marketing company using real-time data to elevate organizational performance. It identifies, collects, analyzes, and markets the data organizations need to strengthen and disseminate services and products to clients and stakeholders. Community research is used to power equitable design.

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