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Equity, Culture, and Place in Teaching Paleontology

Student-Centered Pedagogy for Broadening Participation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2020

Christy C. Visaggi
Georgia State University


The diversity crisis in paleontology refers not to modern biota or the fossil record, but rather how our discipline lacks significant representation of individuals varying in race, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity. This Element is a call to action for broadening participation through improved classroom approaches as described in four sections. First, a brief review of the crisis and key concepts are presented. Next, culturally responsive pedagogy and related practices are introduced. Third, specific applications are offered for drawing cultural connections to studying the fossil record. Finally, recommendations including self-reflection are provided for fostering your own cultural competency. Our discipline offers much for understanding earth history and contributing new knowledge to a world impacted by humans. However, we must first more effectively welcome, support, and inspire all students to embrace meaning and value in paleontology; it is critical for securing the future of our field.
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Online ISBN: 9781108681766
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 20 August 2020

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