- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1836335
- First Name Stamatis
- Last Name Vokos
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Math, Physics
Jessica Jensen, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanlyn Buxner, University of Arizona, email@example.com
From 2007 to 2018, the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) Program has placed 512 prospective STEM teachers, including 241 Noyce Scholars, in 703 9-week summer research placements at two dozen national or university labs. By the end of the current two-year project (2018-2020), 70 Noyce Scholars in total will have been placed in STAR research contexts. Since 2007, STAR has demonstrated success in recruiting, preparing, and retaining a new generation of world-class STEM educators with transformed identities as ‘teacher-researchers’ who lead inquiry-based lessons grounded in personal experience. STAR plays an important role in the professionalization of STEM teacher preparation and retention through positive peer-to-peer collaboration with professional scientists, engineers, and organizations with vested interest in widespread STEM literacy while simultaneously supporting industry-classroom collaborations and classroom innovation. Previous research has shown that productive mindsets around intelligence shape positive instructional classroom choices for teachers and engender a deeper sense of belonging in a community (Dweck & Leggett (1988), Hong et al. (1999), Dweck (2007)). Extant evaluation results of the STAR program have shown that STAR Fellows undergo positive changes in their dual identities as teacher-researchers. The current project is exploring how the addition of explicit instruction on growth mindset impacts STAR Fellows’ own growth mindset and their mindset about students in high needs settings.
The current project is exploring the following aspects: The ability to deepen STAR Fellows’ (and in particular, Noyce Scholars’) sense of belonging in the communities of teachers and of researchers by providing them with nine-week summer research experiences in national labs concurrently with participation in STEM education workshops facilitated by master teachers Supporting STAR Fellows (and in particular, Noyce Scholars) become natives in NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and Common Core State Standards mathematical practices through immersion in them and reflection on them Preparing STAR Fellows (and especially, Noyce Scholars) to teach in high needs settings by shaping healthy beliefs about intelligence and belonging, so that they can better self-regulate when they themselves struggle and can provide more effective feedback when their students Struggle.
In service of the goals above, we report findings to the first year of the exploratory research to investigate the following research questions: What are Fellows’ prior implicit beliefs about intelligence, including their own and that of their students? To what extent does framing summer STAR workshops with the view that belonging in the research community is largely determined by effort, as opposed to achievement, ameliorate Fellows’ sense of unproductive struggle during the summer research experience? To what extent does framing summer STAR workshops with the view that intelligence is malleable change the types of feedback that Fellows would provide struggling students? Data for this study have been collected through a pre-summer survey, post-summer survey, a 6-month survey and individual interviews, and one-year-after interviews with Fellows. Results related to growth mindset were compared using paired data with both forced choice and open-ended responses. This mixed-methods approach has helped us gain more insight into Fellows’ beliefs and support our findings from the surveys.
Preliminary analysis has shown that Fellows increased in their beliefs around fixed mindset, membership, acceptance, belongingness, and trust pre- to post-summer and retained increased beliefs six months later. Additionally, Fellows increased in their teacher-researcher identity and commitment to teaching. We are continuing to collect this data this coming summer to further explore the impact of STAR on each of these facets of Fellows’ beliefs
The STAR program matches motivated and creative students who aspire to be STEM teachers with research mentors in two dozen national labs and universities who seek to both contribute to the formation of effective teachers and contribute to their own disciplines through the intellectual merit of the high-quality research conducted in part by the Fellows in their labs. Furthermore, because problematic teacher beliefs impact negatively their pedagogical choices (Anderman, et al., 2001; Rattan, Good, & Dweck, 2012), our proposed research on beliefs about intelligence and belonging in STEM for this population will contribute to the knowledge base on research experiences for teachers and inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of more effective research immersion programs for teachers and students. This project will make significant strides in filling the gap in the research literature. Furthermore, our research results on mindsets about intelligence and belonging will inform the greater ecosystem of research experiences for teachers.