In this dissertation I explore how cultural and sociohistorical dimensions of stakeholder groups (teachers, students, administrators, and researchers) mediate the interests of urban students in science. This study was conducted during the school year of 2006–2007 in a low-academically performing middle school in New York City.
As an Egyptian immigrant science teacher I experienced resistance from my students in an eighth grade inclusion science class that warranted the use of cogenerative dialogue as a tool to improve teaching and learning. In the cogenerative dialogue sessions, participants (e.g., students, teachers, university researchers, and sometimes administrators) make every effort to convene as equals with goals of improving teaching and learning. By seeking the students' perspectives in cogenerative dialogue participants will be able to identify contradictions that can be addressed in an effort to improve the quality of the learning environments. Examples of such contradictions include shut down techniques that teachers use intentionally and unintentionally in order to have control over students.
This authentic ethnography focused on two Black students from low-income homes, and me, a middle-aged male of Egypt's middle class. Throughout this study, the students acted in the capacity of student-researchers, assisting me to construct culturally adaptive curriculum materials, and to analyze data sources.
This study utilized a sociocultural framework together with microanalysis of videotaped vignettes to obtain evidence that supports patterns of coherence and associated contradictions that emerged during the research. As the teacher-researcher, I learned along with my students how to communicate successfully in the context of structures that often act against success, including social class, ethnicity, gender, and age. The results of this study indicate that as a result of participating in cogenerative dialogues, I as well as the students learned the importance of group membership, and shared responsibilities for learning and acquiring new identities that support teaching and learning, and value diversity. Students reproduced, and transformed cultural practices from other social fields, such as cogenerative dialogues and home, to support their learning. Participating in cogenerative dialogues has produced a higher quality of teacher-student discourse as evidenced in data sources.