Gayle Buck

Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Development

Curriculum and Instruction; Research and Development
Academic Programs:
Science Education
ED 2108
(812) 856-8171
Curriculum Vitae

About Me

Science is an increasingly significant part of our society; not only is it a critical component of a student’s educational experience but is essential for understanding and addressing many of society’s most pressing challenges. Unfortunately, many students continue to be under-served by science education, jeopardizing their ability to attain their career goals and become active citizens, and ultimately costing the nation the contributions they might have made. Science education reform initiatives promote a vision of science education for all students. Increasing these calls for science education reform, equity and accountability are occurring at the same time that our understanding of ‘all students’ is expanding in U.S. classrooms. This increasing diversity of the student population coupled with differential science performance among demographic groups makes the goal of a quality science education for all a major challenge. My continuing goal is to be a significant contributor to our community by increasing our understanding of and efforts in preparing educators to teach science to an increasingly diverse student population. I continually confront the intersecting forces that shape the actual experiences of my students (current/future science educators). I integrate my teaching, research and school engagement in a manner that simultaneously satisfies rigorous research requirements and promotes education improvement for all by preparing educators for the complex realities of classrooms. My research objective is to further enhance our understanding of the complexity of teaching science to an increasingly diverse student population. To that end, I have developed a research agenda that is informed by my strengths, experiences, and interests. My scholarship focuses on: (1) student populations traditionally under-served by science education, and (2) neglected epistemological assumptions in science teaching. My methodological approaches are pragmatic, participatory and mixed. At the core of my teaching is a belief that teaching in authentic, increasingly diverse social contexts has little resemblance to the objective and unproblematic teaching strategies often given to future/current educators. There is no universal remedy for the achievement gaps in science education. Different prior understandings, learning styles, school environments, communities, and attitudes toward learning require different instructional approaches. What science educators need is an understanding of their students, content, context, and the strengths and weaknesses of a myriad of instructional approaches. Educators must be prepared to engage in informed systematic inquiry of their practice in a manner that will lead to enhanced learning experiences for all of their students. To this end, my scholarship both guides and informs my teaching.

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