Dr. Stephen Secules

Assistant Professor of Engineering Education, Florida International University

Reimagining Educational Problems: The Transformative Potential of Critical Cultural Research For Equity in Engineering Education

Much of education research and practice focuses on what I would call “educational problems”. Educational problems could include anything that a researcher or instructor wishes to avoid or mitigate:  student failure, absence, disengagement, attrition, misconceptions, learning delays, etc. In this talk I will lay out three principles that guide my critical cultural research on educational problems within engineering: 1) the global is in the local, 2) how we explain educational phenomena matters, and 3) instead of locating explanations for problems in individual deficits, we can reframe those explanations as rooted in educational culture. Through this reimagining, critical cultural research can come to powerful and surprisingly practical insights about classroom practice. I describe one published example study on equity in a programming course for electrical engineers, and the anthropological and video-based methods that I incorporated to come to the findings. I conclude with other examples of recent work and some current project directions.

Full Talk