- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 2151122
- First Name Paul
- Last Name Adams
- Discipline Other: STEM
Karishma Vignery, Emma Reif, Nathan Stark, Keagan Shubert, Nicole Voss; Fort Hays State University
Beginning STEM teachers in rural communities may be the only teacher in their discipline at their school. As part of our Noyce Project we believe that building a network of other STEM teachers prior to graduation is critical to reduce isolation, build a support community, and develop leadership skills. The STEM ED group, comprised of preservice science and mathematics teachers, is an intentional effort to engage our Noyce Scholars in these three areas. While there is research on learning communities with practicing teachers we feel this contributes to the understanding of specific actions and activities that are effective in the development of preservice teachers.
Does required active membership in a STEM ED Student Organization develop a sense of community of teachers for preservice STEM teachers?
The project uses qualitative research methodologies to study an intact organization. The student organization is student run with a faculty advisor. The measures of impact are part of the overall evaluation of the Noyce Scholar project. The data collection is done through surveys and focus group interviews. These are analyzed using a phenomenological perspective using a grounded theory approach.
The key outcomes have been that Noyce Scholars indicate that this has help them have a sense of belonging to a group. The relationships are maintained after graduation and employment. The experience is viewed as valuable and an opportunity to develop leadership. One outcome that needs to be further developed is the need to challenge the students to engage in cross-discipline thinking. The deliverable is a listing of what the students have done. An area to explore is the impact of providing more opportunities to collaborate on challenges to deepen their relationships and problem solving.
One of the broader impacts is the role of the social dynamic and co-curricular activities as an essential part of preparing STEM teachers who will be entering communities that may have isolation. The importance of requiring this type of engagement, we believe though it needs further confirmation, aids in retention and sense of belonging. We need to research this further.