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Engineering’s promise to build a better world has been realized differently across the United States, often with lines of social identity determining who becomes an engineer, who benefits from engineering innovations, and who suffers devastating consequences. Many educational scholars have argued that engineering inequities are in part due to deep inequities in precollege engineering education, including the failure to enact pedagogies in which engineering educational spaces can help students recognize oppression and act toward liberation. In this critical scoping review we searched five databases to identify 72 relevant peer-reviewed articles for review. Our findings indicate that research on critical consciousness in precollege engineering education is nascent, with studies primarily utilizing qualitative methods to examine the experiences of K–12 teachers and students in formal and informal precollege engineering classrooms in the United States. Through a constructivist grounded theory approach, we examined a small sample of this scholarship to build on our theoretical understanding of how critical consciousness might be utilized as a framework for precollege engineering education, embedding engineering education within cycles of critical reflection (e.g., discussing with students why engineering is currently a White male-dominated field) and critical action (e.g., helping students design approaches to mitigating disenfranchisement). Specifically, we highlight how critical K–12 engineering educators have been able to (a) navigate institutional critique and support, (b) balance the relational and the technical, (c) reframe who can be an engineer, and (d) reframe what engineers do. This critical scoping review also highlights how critical engineering educators are often constrained by current educational systems and what that practical reality means for advancing critical consciousness as a pedagogical framework in precollege engineering education.



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