Skip to content Skip to navigation

Photo of Stanford GSE Faculty

Brown, Bryan

Prof. Bryan Brown
Prof. Bryan Brown
Academic Title 
Associate Professor
Other Titles 

Associate Dean for Student Affairs

College Director Freshman-Sophmore College

Contact Information
(650) 725-4662
CE 228
by appointment
Program Affiliations 
CTE: Science Education
Research Interests 
Cultural Studies
Equity and Poverty
Equity in the Development of Technological Fluency
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
Science Education
Sociology of the Classroom

Dr. Brown's current research examines issues of stress, culture, and language. His work examines how science is taught is ways that may alienate urban students due to the approach to language instruction. This work includes experimental work involving technology based education and inner city teaching practices.

Bryan A. Brown is a professor of teacher education. His research interest explores the relationship between student identity, discourse, classroom culture, and academic achievement in science education. He focuses on the social connotations and cultural politics of science discourse in small-group and whole-group interaction. Additionally, his research work in science education examines how teacher and student discourse serve to shape learning opportunities for students in science classrooms. Dr. Brown's work in science education in urban communities focuses on developing collaborative curricular cycles and classroom pedagogy based on developing discourse intensive instruction for urban learners. His research has expanded beyond his focus on science education, to include issues of college access in urban communities.His recent work explores how classroom and school culture shapes access to higher education. He conducts mixed methodological work exploring how race, language, and culture impact students learning in urban science classrooms.

Where Discursive Identity finds its value to research on classroom learning is by providing a lens through which to recognize how the social meaning of language impacts student learning. If we recognize that people do not acquire our functional vocabularies from textbooks, scholars must understand that our functional vocabularies are developed in broader social contexts that provide us a set of rules to understand what it means to use a particular type of discourse (Gumperz 1982; Gumperz and Hymes 1972). As individuals acquire an understanding of vocabulary, they are also able to develop supplemental understandings of the subtle subtexts involved in using specific vocabulary in specific contexts, for specific purposes. In this sense, literacy also includes the development of the knowledge of what using such vocabulary means for both the speaker and the hearer of the word. In this sense the use of a certain discourse may hold a different social meaning for students from different backgrounds. For students from one background, using science discourse may be seen as a sign of their intelligence and as a result it may be perceived as a positive attribute. Conversely, for students of another background using the same discourse may be seen as a signal of cultural betrayal (Brown 2004; Gilbert and Yerrick 2001). Thus, without an adequate theoretical perspective to describe how the subtext of language use impacts students’ learning, teachers may assume that using academic language is a neutral endeavor. 

-from Brown (2011), "Isn't that just good teaching? Disaggregate Instruction and the Langauge Identity Dilemma

  • PhD (Education- Science Education) University of California, Santa Barbara 2002
  • MA (Education- Science Education) University of California, Santa Barbara 1999
  • BS (Biology) Hampton University, 1996

Michigan State University Visiting Professor     - August 2002 - May 2003

Long Beach Unified School District                   - September 1996  - December 2001

  • ED 336 - Language Identity & Classroom Learning
  • ED 267 - Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education
  • ED 359b - Seminar in Science & Learning: Scientific Learning
  • ED 359c - Seminar in Science & Learning: The History of Research in Science Teaching
  • ED 269 - Principles of Learning for Teaching

Brown, B; Henderson, J.; Gray,S.; Sullivan, S.; Patterson, A.; & Wagstaff, W. (in press) Jumping Through Hurdles: On Contingencies and African-American Science Pathways. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Rivera, M. & Brown, B.; Gray, S.; & Sullivan, S. (in press) Urban Middle School Students’ Reflections on Critical Science Inquiry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Brown, B.; Parsons, E.; Miles, R.; & Henderson, J.B. (2013) Exploring The Alignment of Black Scientists with the American Scientific Community: Does Race Still Matter? Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering 19(2), 95-120.

Brown, B.; Henderson, B.; Gray, S.; Donovan, B; & Sullivan, S (2013) From Assess to Success: Identity Contingencies & African-American Pathways to Science. Higher Education Studies, 3, 1-13.

Brown, B. (2011) Isn’t that just good teaching? Disaggregate Instruction and the language identity dilemma. The Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22,679-704.

Brown, B; Ryoo, K.; & Rodriguez, J. (2010) Pathway Towards Fluency: Using Disaggregate Instruction to promote science literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 32, 11, 1465-1493.

Brown, B.; & Kloser, M. (2009) A view of the tip of the iceberg: revisiting conceptual continuities and their implications for science teaching. Cultural Studies in Science Education, 4, 921-928.

Brown, B.; & Kloser, Matthew. (2009) Conceptual Continuity & Accessing Everyday Scientific Understandings. Cultural Studies in Science Education, 4, 875-897.

Brown, B. (2009) Intellectual innovation or intellectual retrofitting: On agency, culture, and access to science education. Cultural Studies in Science Education, 2,379-386.

Brown, B; & Ryoo, K. (2008) Teaching Science as a Language: A ‘Content-First’ approach to science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45, 525-664.

Reveles, J.; & Brown, B. (2008) Discursive Identity and Science Teaching: Teachers Emphasizing Student Identity in Science Instruction. Science Education, 92, 5.

Brown, B. (2008) Assessment and Academic Identity: Using Embedded Assessment as an instrument for Academic Socialization in Science Education. Teachers College Record, 110, 10, p. 2116-2147.

Brown, B.; & Spang, E. (2008) Double talk: Synthesizing everyday and scientific language in the classroom. Science Education, 92, 708-732.

Brown, B. (2006) “It isn't no slang that can be said about this stuff”: Language, Identity, and Appropriating Science Discourse. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43, pp.96-126.

Brown, B.; Reveles, J.; & Kelly, G. (2005) Scientific Literacy and Discursive Identity: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Science Education. Science Education, 89, 779-802.

Brown, B. (2005) The Politics of Public Discourse: Discourse, Identity and African-Americans in science education. The Negro Educational Review, 56, 2, p. 205-220.

Brown, B. (2004) Discursive Identity: Assimilation into the culture of science and its implications for minority students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 8, pp.810-834.

Bianchini, J.; Hilton-Brown, B., & Therese D. Breton. (2002) Professional development for university scientists around issues of equity and diversity: Investigating dissent within community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 38, 8, pp.738-771. 

Bianchini, J.; Breton, T.; Hilton-Brown, B., & Whitney, D.A., (2000). Toward Inclusive Science Education: University Scientists’ Views of Students, Instructional Practices, and the Nature of Science. Science Education. 86, 1, p. 42-78.

AST Name and Title 
Bryan A. Brown, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Prof. Brown is a professor of teacher education. His research interest explores the relationship between student identity, discourse, classroom culture, and academic achievement in science education.  Prof. Brown received his PhD and MA in Science Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his BS in Biology from Hampton University.  He has been a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Education faculty since 2003 and in 2015, was appointed Associate Dean for Students Affairs.

The Associate Dean oversees Academic Services, EdCareers, lecturer appointments, curriculum planning, faculty teaching assignments, academic program changes, TA and RA assignments and chairs the Area Chairs Committee and Undergraduate Committee.