- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540806
- First Name Tony
- Last Name Hall
- Discipline Other: Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics
Gail Hughes, UALR, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Hughes, UALR, email@example.com
The UALR Noyce Scholars Program was created to respond to the national, state, and local needs to increase mathematics and science teachers and develop a better-prepared workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through this program summer interns gain experience in informal education sites such as the Museum of Discovery, Innovation Hub, and Children’s International. Noyce Scholars gain additional early field experience through pairings with a mentor teacher in a high-needs school. Therefore, the Noyce Interns and Scholars benefit both financially and experientially. Mentor teachers are loaned the STEM lesson kits from the Noyce Scholar lessons and the students enjoy a problem-based STEM lesson from enthusiastic teacher candidates.
The UALR Noyce Scholars Program is designed to: 1. increase the number of science and mathematics graduates earning a secondary teaching license in their content area, 2. increase the number of science and mathematics graduates teaching in high-need schools, 3. provide additional clinical- teaching experience for UALR Noyce Scholars to increase their scores on the Arkansas Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) observations and on the Teacher Perceptions of Preparedness Survey (TPPS), 4. partner with HMS, a local high-need school, to deliver enhanced inquiry-based (e.g., project and problem based) mathematics and science lessons and provide embedded-professional and bi-annual workshops for HMS teachers, and 5. provide informal educational practice through summer internships with partners, and support [e.g. biannual UALR Professional Development (PD) Days] for new teachers during their induction years. The key activities to achieve the goals include: 1. recruitment at campus and ADE recruitment fairs, 2. enforcement of the scholarship contract to ensure employment in a high-need school, 3. placement with mentor teachers in high-need schools, 4. conducting PD workshops for mentor teachers and UALR Noyce Alumni, and 5. placements with the Museum of Discovery, Innovation Hub, and Children’s International.
The UALR Noyce Scholars Program supports teacher candidates through paid summer internships as they practice engaging activities at informal education sites. The interns not only learn new, engaging methods of presentation, but also contribute to increased public engagement with science and technology. In addition to the $10,000 scholarships, Scholars are given additional early field experiences and mentoring by the UALR Noyce Leadership Team and school mentor teachers. The team established partnerships with local high-needs schools to match scholars with mentor teachers in those schools. The mentor teachers demonstrate effective teaching and management skills; provide feedback and coaching; and provide examples of working in a supportive, diverse educational setting. Scholars work with their mentor teachers throughout the semester, teaching a lesson every-other-week. Candidates are encouraged to use the STEM teaching kits available to educators through the UALR STEM Center.
Recruitment remains a challenge. In some instances, candidates do not want to commit to teaching. In other instances, the additional field experiences, which were included as an incentive, were viewed as an additional requirement by some potential applicants. However, scholars have praised the field experiences for allowing them to watch classroom management in action (often visiting the classroom more than the required amount) and discuss management styles with their mentor teachers. The reality of planning a lesson to cover a specific topic on a given date is a good lesson for future teachers. Due to the number of lessons taught, candidates have all experienced a lesson not going as planned and have been able to learn from that experience what to do when a lesson does not work and how to monitor and adjust for future lessons.
Thus far, the broader impacts include the modest improvement in recruitment of STEM teachers, with sixNoyce Scholar graduates to date, and the community impacts. Noyce Interns have contributed to increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology. Noyce Scholars have shared innovative STEM lessons with local teachers and their classes. These preliminary observations have been shared with colleagues through presentation, More IS better: Increasing the quantity and quality of STEM teachers, at the Mid-South Educational Research Association (November, 2016) in Mobile, AL.