- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1340000
- First Name Suzanne
- Last Name Chapin
- Discipline Engineering
Leslie Dietiker, Boston University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Gretchen Fougere, Boston University, email@example.com
Aaron Brakoniecki, Boston University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston University’s Bringing Engineers into STEM Teaching (BEST) Project, awarded in Fall 2013, is focusing on bringing the mathematical, technological, and design expertise of engineers into secondary classrooms. This program is a collaboration of the School of Education and the College of Engineering at Boston University and six schools or districts in the Boston area. The BEST program provides an experience-rich and inquiry-based teacher preparation program that addresses the recommendations from the MET II Report, the CCSS-M and the Massachusetts Engineering Standards. It is responding to the critical demand for highly trained middle and high school mathematics teachers in high-need school districts in the state of Massachusetts. The project makes it possible for engineers to become educators by providing full scholarships to qualified students.
The BEST program is built around an established Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program. A unique feature of BU’s MAT program is the inclusion of courses that emphasize pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics. Students enroll in three courses that emphasize mathematical knowledge for teaching. Clinical experiences are provided along with coursework and workshops specifically designed to support reflective teaching focused on student reasoning. In order to help scholars prepare for teaching in high-need schools, they enroll in the courses, “Equitable Pedagogies” and “Teaching English Language Learners in the Content Areas.” Scholars attend workshops, seminars and mentoring that address engineering design standards and broad themes within mathematics teaching.
The BEST project uses many recruitment strategies. We collaborate with the STEM Educator-Engineer Program (STEEP) at Boston University to provide pathways for undergraduate engineering students to become teachers. The STEEP program is a 4 + 1 program in which students receive a BS degree in engineering and a master’s degree in education in five years. In addition, a group of engineering undergraduates, the Inspiration Ambassadors, work closely with Co-PI Fougere and the Noyce Scholars on design projects for middle school students to motivate and develop interest in education. Many of these Ambassadors decide upon a career in education and enter the STEEP program. Summer internships are offered to undergraduate engineers where they participate in the design of activities for K-12 students and learn about ways they can become a teacher. Finally, the project recruits practicing engineers and undergraduate mathematics majors.
Scholars are connected to a robust and on-going mathematics community of students, teachers, engineers, mathematics educators, and mathematicians. They return to campus throughout the year for professional development. During seminars, they have learned to develop apps for iPhones, apply mathematics to the solution of engineering problems and discussed many aspects of teaching and learning such as the use of discovery-based lessons. Other professional development activities for scholars include summer workshops focused on engineering design, attendance at conferences, special meetings for first year teachers focused on classroom management, and activities during the MAT year specifically oriented toward working in high-need schools.
This project has highlighted the the ways in which engineering, and specifically the engineering design process, can be utilized and leveraged to connect with the mathematics practice standards. A paper about this will be presented at the ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) national conference this summer. Additionally, the fourth cohort of BEST scholars, set to begin in Fall of 2016 will be the largest cohort yet, containing seven scholars.
There have been 11 scholars in Cohorts I-III and 100% have been awarded a MAT degree and licensure in secondary mathematics. All of the scholars in Cohorts I and II are teaching mathematics in high-need districts. Cohort III scholars graduated in May 2016 and are currently looking for employment as mathematics teachers. We have seven Cohort IV scholars who will enter the MAT program in July 2016. Work related to this project has begun to be shared via conference presentations, including a presentation this summer at the ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) conference.