03 SES 07 A, Curriculum Change and Teachers' Perceptions
In the last century, the world has developed scientifically and technologically, and unexpected environmental factors have been influential in it (Chachashvili-Bolotin, Milner-Bolotin & Lissitsa, 2016). Leadership in the fields of economy, technology and defense industry in the world is getting more and more important day by day with globalization. In order to prosper in a sustainable way, the economies of developed countries require not only a scientifically literate population (OECD, 2013), but also an investment in science, engineering and innovation. STEM education is one of the most innovative educational movements in recent years. STEM consists of the initials of the words Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As the name clearly suggests, it envisages the development of the educational system in terms of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Developments and achievements obtained in these fields is very important for countries and especially for Turkey to take part in the world economic competition. Turkey, a developing country and needs reforms in the field of education because correct reforms support development. In 2016, based on this need, Ministry of National Education, Innovation and Education Technologies General Directorate prepared the STEM education report. In this report, there were many topics from the recommendation of a sample training model to teacher training. STEM and coding training were taken into account when creating a new curriculum. In 2018, Project-Based Learning and Implementation Systems Training project has been started with STEM Trainer Training Program. However, there are a few studies which investigate awareness and readiness of schools for STEM education in Turkey. This research explored the schools’ readiness level for STEM education in the capital of Turkey by using teachers and administrators’ opinions. The research about the thoughts of the practitioners is as important as the studies about evidence base readiness obtained from framework in STEM implementation. Teachers’ characteristics, attitudes of administrators, curriculum, timetables, textbooks and physical environment are other important parts of the successful preparation process. This study, investigating the readiness of high schools in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, holds potential to get general idea about the readiness of all schools in Ankara for STEM education. It may be a guide for the future studies in terms of showing what is missing to be ready for STEM education.
This research aims to investigate high school teachers’ and administrators’ opinions and to reveal their readiness level for STEM education. For this purpose, we used case study which is a qualitative approach includes a case, in-depth data collection based on this case and report of the case (Creswell, 2007). The main purpose of selecting this method is to obtain the information we cannot obtain from surveys. The required permission to make interview was acquired from Ministry of Education. We designated the high schools as the case and Stem readiness of them as the issue. In this manner one Science High School, one Private High School, one Industrial Vocational High School and one Normal High School were selected and the participants were asked questions based on the STEM Framework prepared by The New York City Department of Education (2015). This framework is based on four domains and the questions were chosen according to these domains’ indicators and schools’ readiness is evaluated as early, emerging, integrated or fully integrated. Data obtained from two science or math teachers and one administrator from each school was written by the researcher in the form of word by word and then the written statements of the interviews was carefully read by researcher and the pre-coding process was done by underlining the parts. We asked our questions according to NYC STEM framework and we analyzed the ideas of experts or practitioners with a constant comparative method (CCM). CCM gives a chance to compare the information from data collection with emerging categories (Creswell, 2007), so this method was appropriate for our study. The analysis began with open coding, which included examining important words, phrases, and sentences of data from interviews. As Kolb (2012) said, data were compared by asking questions what is and is not understood. Then, data was combined in new ways by making connections between categories in the second part of analysis and finally codes were narrowed to be associated with main codes. After the analysis we got some results from practitioners’ opinions about the readiness level of schools. These results will be explained in detail at the end of the study because our work is still in progress. Therefore, we would like to present and share our final findings with ECER community.
This study revealed some expert opinions to explain how the teachers and administrators describe the readiness. According to results, generally STEM is known as only a word. Some quotations from participants like that; “I've never heard of STEM education before.” “STEM is something related to science and technology.” “I heard the word but I do not know the meaning of it.” Participants generally have not any internal resistance against the STEM education but it is not on the agenda of the schools because of the current system and this system can be thought as external resistance. “That is a problem in the system, children only want to pass the exam, so there is nothing to think about their future.” Schools’ physical environment is generally appropriate or can be made appropriate easily for STEM education but there is not enough study about this issue. “There are fully equipped laboratories, but the class includes 34 people. Laboratories for 20 people. 14 people cannot find the opportunity to work individually so taking the student to the laboratory can be a problem.” Families and students generally knows nothing about career opportunities, scholarships, financial aid, information about attending colleges related to STEM. “Parents expect from us to pass the course of their child. There is no concern for the future of the child.” “Children do not know what the profession wants, does not know about the career.” Some of the activities performed are related to the STEM, but they are not aware of it. There is no STEM awareness in the schools. “We have robotic club, math club, physics club. They are already working.” “We have clubs like astronomy, but not a study of the STEM.” In the light of all these data, schools’ readiness level was found as early for STEM education.
Chachashvili-Bolotin, S., Milneer-Bolotin, M., & Lissitsa, S. (2016). Examination of factors predicting secondary students’ interest in tertiary STEM education. International Journal of Science Education. Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualıtatıve inquıry& research desıgn: Choosing among five approaches. Kolb, S.M. (2012). Grounded Theory and the Constant Comparative Method: Valid Research Strategies for Educators. Ministry of National Education Committee, 2016. STEM Education Report. Ministry of National Education, General Directorate of Innovation and Educational Technologies. Retrievedfrom http://kavak.meb.gov.tr/meb_iys_dosyalar/2016_10/05085558_stem_egitimi_raporu_130_sayfalar.pdf OECD. (2013), OECD skills Outlook 2013: First results from the survey of adult skills. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264204256-en.
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