Rowhea Elmesky

Associate Professor of Education
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1183
    • One Brookings Dr.
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Rowhea Elmesky focuses on developing integrated meso and micro level understandings regarding the ways in which resources and schema from social fields outside of the classroom shape the events that unfold as curriculum is enacted within the classroom.

    Rowhea Elmesky is committed to conducting research on improving science teaching and learning for marginalized youth attending urban schools. Particularly, she focuses on developing integrated meso and micro level understandings regarding the ways in which resources and schema from social fields outside of the classroom shape the events that unfold as curriculum is enacted within the classroom.

    Prior to arriving at Washington University, Rowhea completed a three year postdoctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania where she developed a research database of video, audio and written artifacts from inner city high school chemistry and physics classrooms and from longitudinal work with student and teacher researchers. Out of that database, along with Ken Tobin and Gale Seiler, Rowhea edited a book entitled, "Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers," which won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic titles in 2006. Currently, she is interested in expanding her urban science education database through conducting research with youth who are attending schools located within East St. Louis.

    In her time at Washington University, Rowhea has served as a Faculty Fellow and recently as the co-Principal Investigator for the St. Louis Center for Inquiry in Science Teaching and Learning (CISTL) - one of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Centers for Learning and Teaching (CLT) programs. She also serves as the Principal Investigator for an NSF funded CLT supplemental program, entitled: Synthesizing and Carrying Forward What We’ve Learned: Preparing Future Leaders with a Focus on Diversity and Equity in STEM Education.

    Selected Publications

    Elmesky, R., & Seiler, G. (2007). Movement expressiveness, solidarity and the (re)shaping of African American students' scientific identities. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 2 (73-103).

    Seiler, G., & Elmesky, R. (2007). The role of communal practices in the generation of capital and emotional energy among African American students in science classrooms. Teachers College Record, 109, 391-419.

    Noblit, G., Hwang, S., Seiler, G., & Elmesky, R. (2007). Forum: toward culturally responsive discourses in science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 2 (105-117).

    Elmesky, R., Olitsky, S., & Tobin, K. (2006). Forum: structure, agency and the development of students’ identities as learners. Cultural Studies of Science Education (First Online—DOI: 10.1007/s11422-006- 9034-9).

    Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., & Seiler, G. (2005). Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers. NY: Rowman and Littlefield.

    Elmesky, Rowhea (2005, August). Rethinking Qualitative Research: Research Participants as Central Researchers and Enacting Ethical Practices as Habitus [20 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 6(3), Art 36. Available here.

    Elmesky, R. (2005). "I am science and the world is mine:" Embodied practices as resources for empowerment. School Science and Mathematics, 105, 335-342.

    Elmesky, R., & Tobin, K. (2005). Expanding our understandings of urban science education by expanding the roles of students as researchers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 807-828.

    Elmesky, R. (2006). Poverty and science teaching and learning. In K. Tobin (Ed.), Teaching and learning science: A handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger.

    Improving Urban Science Education: New Roles for Teachers, Students, and Researchers

    Improving Urban Science Education: New Roles for Teachers, Students, and Researchers

    Many would argue that the state of urban science education has been static for the past several decades and that there is little to learn from it. Rather than accepting this deficit perspective, Improving Urban Science Education strives to recognize and understand the successes that exist there by systematically documenting seven years of research into issues salient to teaching and learning in urban high school science classes. Grounded in the post structuralism of William Sewell_and brought to life through the experiences of different students, teachers, and school settings in Philadelphia_this book shows how teachers and students can work together to enact meaningful science education when social and cultural differences as well as inappropriate curricula often make the challenges seem insurmountable. Chapters contain rich images of urban youth and each strives to offer insights into problems and suggestions for resolving them. Most significant, in spite of the challenges, the research offers hope and shows that fresh approaches to teaching and learning can lead students_some who have already been pronounced academic, even societal, failures_to becoming avid and deep learners of science.