Summer Multicultural and Interdisciplinary Learning for Engineering (SMILE) in Transportation: Professional Development for Future Science Teachers of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

This proposal is designed to offer a professional development opportunity, “Summer Multicultural & Interdisciplinary Learning for Engineering (SMILE) in Transportation, ”for future science teachers(focusing on grades 4-5)and measure its effects on their teaching. As the student population grows more diverse, schools are facing greater challenges in delivering effective instructions of “transportation” to the diverse student population, including minority students who speak English as a second language. A five-day online workshop, SMILE in Transportation, will provide future science teachers with an opportunity to interact with the cultural professionals in transportation who are transportation experts, have their own cultural backgrounds, and present transportation systems through their cultures. The cultural professionals in transportation involve inter-disciplinarily professionals not only on the campus(Science Education, Civil Engineering, Center for Mexican American Studies, Center for Innovative Research and Teaching (CIRT), and the UTA Library) but also from the communities (International museums and schools).SMILE in Transportation is a novel approach to increase the knowledge of the future science teachers in transportation and to develop a unique teaching methodology that incorporates the backgrounds of CLD students into teaching engineering of transportation. The data collected from the pre-and the post-surveys of the participants’ science affinities (interest, self-efficacy, attitudes, & identity), cultural competencies, science knowledge tests, and the interviews at the end of the project will be used to improve future teachers’ understanding of transportation and other cultures and their skills in developing culturally-responsive instructions to teach transportation, as well as to update SMILE workshop for future sessions. The SMILE website will be made widely available to encourage participation from science teachers, educators, and administrators across Texas and beyond. The findings from SMILE will be also disseminated through conferences and journal articles for adoption by other universities and schools.