ERG SES H 08, Teacher Education
STEM education aims at educating more students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields for the aim of maintaining the country not to fall behind emerging countries in terms of economic and technological development (Breiner, Johnson, Harkness, & Koehler, 2012). STEM is the purposeful integration of the various disciplines as used in solving real-world problems (Labov, Reid, & Yamamoto, 2010; Sanders, 2009). National Science Faoundation (NSF) used SMET acronym first but then changed to STEM due to possbility of vulgarity issues (Sanders, 2009). STEM fields are classified by NSF broadly, including not only the common categories of engineering, natural sciences, computer and information sciences, and mathematics, but also behavioral/social sciences like economics, political science, sociology, psychology (Green, 2007). STEM education can be referred to as a teaching system that aims at the integration of four important disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including interdisciplinary and applied approaches. STEM education focuses on science and mathematics disciplines, as well as technology and engineering (Bybee, 2010). STEM education may vary because of differences in the integration of technology and engineering domains. Bybee (2013) clarified and summarized these nine different STEM education perspectives based on the many articles, projects, discussion, and reports related to STEM. These definitions are as follows;
- STEM equals Science (or Mathematics),
- STEM Means Both Science and Mathematics,
- STEM Means Science and Incorporates Technology, Engineering, or Math,
- STEM Equals a Quartet of Separate Disciplines,
- STEM Means Science and Math Are Connected by One Technology or Engineering Program,
- STEM Means Coordination across Disciplines,
- STEM Means Combining Two or Three Disciplines,
- STEM Means Complementary Overlapping Across Disciplines,
- STEM Means a Transdisciplinary Course or Program.
Furthermore, readiness has various definitions and often used for different concept in the past in the meaning of being ready. In the literature, readiness of teachers mainly depend on willingness and ability, but there are other factors influencing that such as work ability, family or personal life (Howe and Stubbs, 2003). At the other study, readiness of a teacher depends mostly on training of them rather than their personal life (Elkind, 2014). There were also some other studies related to teacher readiness or the role of them at learning (Steele, Brew, Rees & Ibrahim-Khan, 2012; Windschitl, 2009). The common result of these studies is the relationship between readiness of teachers and their strength and weakness.
In this study, it was tried to be examined readiness level of a faculty of education based on a STEM framework prepared by New York City Department of Education (2015). This framework that based on the responsibilities of the school has 4 main domains. These domains are “School Vision and Structures for Success”, “STEM Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment”, “Strategic Partnership” and “STEM College and Career Readiness”. There are also some indicators with criteria that describing necessary conditions for maximizing the potential of domains. These criteria were stated clearly and explicitly. According to criteria, the readiness of each indicators will be evaluated as “Early”, “Emerging”, “Integrated” and “Fully Integrated”.
The purpose of this study is exploring the readiness level of the education faculty of a state university in Ankara about providing effective STEM education to their students according to perceptions of instructors.
Case study approach has been chosen for that study. Our case is a faculty of education and issue is the readiness level of it. Because one case is chosen, that study has single (instrumental) case study method. The sample consist of seven individuals including the dean of the faculty, six faculty members (instructors) from various departments. We have chosen the intensity sampling method for the study. According to the intensity sampling method, richest faculty members in terms of data were preferred. Semi structured interviews were selected to get best and most efficient data from the sample. Because, in the case of an interview with the right questions, the necessary data will be obtained about the domains in the STEM Framework from the participants, as well as their ideas about the STEM education which is not included in the framework or in the questions of the interview. After data collection method were obtained, interview questions were started to prepare based on the STEM Framework. At this point, STEM Framework is transformed to university level because it prepared before based on high school level. Then, after transformation of framework and preparing interview questions were done, pilot interview was done and final revisions were made at the interview after piloting. All these processes conducted with 2 experts. After each of interview, research memos of interviewee was written. Then, these interviews were transcribed and all transcripts and research memos were coded at two part. While in the first part, analytical coding was done and 5 themes were emerged, at the other part the answer of participants scored as 1 for early, 2 for emerged, 3 for integrated and 4 for fully integrated. The four readiness levels were at the STEM Framework before and at the transformation process, sample identifiers for each level were obtained and scoring were made according to that. At that part, other 2 researchers were coded except me for supplying inter-coder reliability.
At the first part, five themes emerged as the ideas of the faculty about STEM integration and these are; “STEM is not a new term”, “it is missing and insufficient”, “STEM is an American imposition”, “the needs for other faculties” and “resistance”. For the theme new term; more than one participant stated that there is nothing new emerging about STEM in this regard. Also, almost all the instructors emphasized that the dimensions of STEM are missing and insufficient and they indicated that social dimension, environment, and sustainability dimension should be added to these dimensions. Moreover, some instructors think that STEM is the result of American imposition. Besides these, some participants declared the needs to other faculties such as engineering, industrial design faculty. At the final theme, we concluded that there is a resistance to STEM education by seeing it unnecessary and just a trend in education. In the second part of the study, scores of dean and faculty members were obtained in terms of readiness out of 4. According to Framework, the score shows the integration of STEM to the education is at the early level for 1, emerging level for 2, integrated level for 3 and fully integrated level for 4. While the average score of dean is 2.5, faculty members’ average score is 2.0. According to these results, we can say that, the integration level of STEM to education of faculty is at emerging level at average and this level is higher according to dean. Besides these scores, we can say that based on the answers and attitudes of the lecturers in the interviews, even though they are not fully prepared now, they are thinking of being better in terms of STEM education at their plans.
Breiner, J. M., Johnson, C. C., Harkness, S. S., & Koehler, C. M. (2012). What is STEM? A Discussion About Conceptions of STEM in Education and Partnerships. School Science and Mathematics, 112, 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.2011.00109.x Bybee, R. W. (2010). What Is STEM Education? Science, 329(5995), 996–996. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1194998 Bybee, R. W. 2013. The case for STEM education: Challenges and opportunities. Arlington: National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Press. Carmen F., Phil W., Anna C., Linda C. (2015). STEM education framework. New York: The New York City Department of Education. (2015). Retrieved from: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/DE2FC1DE-5FB8-474F-BD27D75FF70EF610/0/STEMframework_WEB1.pdf Elkind, D. (2004). The problem with constructivism. The Educational Forum, 68(4), 306-312 Green, M. (2007). Science and engineering degrees: 1966-2004. (NSF 07–307). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Howe, A. C. & Stubbs, H. S. (2003). From science teacher to teacher leader: Leadership development as meaning making in a community of practice. Science Education, 87(2), 280. Labov, J. B., Reid, A. H., & Yamamoto, K. R. (2010). Integrated biology and undergraduate science education: a new biology education for the twenty-first century? CBE Life Science Education, 9, 10–16. Sanders, M. (2009). STEM, STEM education, STEM mania. Technology Teacher, 68(4), 20–26. Steele, A., Brew, C., Rees, C. & Ibrahim-Khan, S. (2013). Our practice, their readiness: teacher educators collaborate to explore and improve preservice teacher readiness for science and math instruction. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(1), 111-131. Windschitl, M. (2009). Cultivating 21st century skills in science learners: how systems of teacher preparation and professional development will have to evolve. Presentation given at the National Academies of Science Workshop on 21st Century Skills, Washington, DC.
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