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Integrating Power to Advance the Study of Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement in Mathematics and Science

  • Author(s): Agarwal, P;
  • Sengupta-Irving, T
  • et al.

Engle and Conant’s productive disciplinary engagement (PDE) framework has significantly advanced the study of learning in mathematics and science. This artilce revisits PDE through the lens of critical education research. Our analysis synthesizes two themes of power: epistemic diversity, and historicity and identity. We argue that these themes, when integrated into PDE, strengthen it as a tool for design and analysis of disciplinary learning in relation to power and personhood, and describe the broadened framework of connective and productive disciplinary engagement (CPDE). By comparing and contrasting the use of PDE and CPDE in relation to two cases of classroom learning—for science, Warren et al.’s metamorphosis and for mathematics, Godfrey and O’Connor’s measurement—we demonstrate how CPDE surfaces issues of history, power, and culture that may otherwise be overlooked by PDE alone. In particular, we analyze how CPDE makes visible unseen identities and generative resources of disciplinary knowing and doing among minoritized students. We discuss how the revised framework redresses epistemic injustice experienced by minoritized learners held to the narrow rubric of western epistemologies and compels close attention to the diversity of human activity in mathematics and science. Further, we elaborate how it provides a structure for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers to design and analyze learning environments as safeguarding the rightful presence of minoritized learners in STEM classrooms and beyond.

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