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Professional Development Through STEM Integration: How Early Career Math and Science Teachers Respond to Experiencing Integrated STEM Tasks

  • Rachael Eriksen Brown
  • Christopher A. Bogiages
Article

Abstract

Teachers often struggle to utilize reform-based teaching strategies in their first few years of teaching for many reasons (Ball, Thames & Phelps, Journal of Teacher Education 59, 389–407, 2008; Berlin & White, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 8, 97–115, 2010; Frykholm & Glasson, School Science and Mathematics 105, 127–141, 2005; Lederman & Lederman, Science Teacher Education 24, 1237–1240, 2013). An important part of teachers’ learning to implement these pedagogically ambitious strategies is for teachers to experience learning themselves through an immersive experience in the new strategy (Louks-Horsley, Stiles, Mundry, Love & Hewson, Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics, 2010). Building on this body of research and a host of recent national education standards documents, this paper explores the various dispositions early career high school science and math teachers from across the USA demonstrate when engaging together as learners in integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) tasks. Embedded within a multi-year professional development program, teachers were engaged in two integrated STEM tasks during two separate professional development experiences. Following the tasks, teachers responded to writing prompts asking them to reflect on their experience during the tasks. Analysis of the reflections about the integrated STEM tasks fell into two broad categories of dispositions: engager and observer. The data suggest various strategies for professional development providers who are interested in providing professional development focused on integrated STEM instruction.

Keywords

Mathematics education Professional development Science education STEM integration 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank our colleagues that supported this work, particularly Kim Masloski, and contributors to our thinking, particularly Maria Hernandez. We would also like to thank the teachers who push us to continue to grow as educators.

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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachael Eriksen Brown
    • 1
  • Christopher A. Bogiages
    • 2
  1. 1.Penn State University – AbingtonAbingtonUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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