- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1852670
- First Name Allison
- Last Name Jablonski
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Geosciences, Mathematics
Andrew Bruce, David Perault
Andrew Bruce, University of Lynchburg
Students with disabilities are increasingly included in secondary STEM classes (Kahn & Lewis, 2014). STEM teachers need to be equipped to work with this population, yet most teacher preparation programs do not adequately prepare teachers to work with students with a wide range of needs (Cameron & Cook, 2007; Rosenzweig, 2009). A few studies discuss teaching strategies for students with disabilities in STEM classrooms (e.g., Basham et al., 2010; King-Sears et al., 2017), but other than Kahn and Lewis (2014), there is a paucity of research focused on the intersection of STEM education and students with disabilities and culturally diverse populations.
(1) Does participation in a series of 8 workshops over a two year period significantly alter knowledge and beliefs of preservice and in-service STEM teachers about teaching students with disabilities? (2) How does interaction with students with disabilities during field experiences alter pre-service STEM teachers’ beliefs about these students?
Noyce Scholars will take part in one of 8 workshops. Two workshops will take place every semester. The topics will be (1) Understanding the power of expectations, (2) Dealing with serious behavior in the classroom, (3) Universal design for learning, (4) Using technology effectively with struggling learners, (5) Engaging students in active learning, (6) Cross-cultural competency, (7) Teaching economically and culturally diverse students, and (8) Getting the best from all students. Workshops will be presented through lecture, practical experience and problem solving, and include mentoring and real life examples from current STEM teachers in the field. Noyce Scholars will complete the Teacher’s Attitude Towards Inclusion Scale (TAIS) at the beginning of their program, and again after each semester. The TAIS tracks teachers beliefs about students with different types of disabilities (e.g., vision, behavior, learning), and also provides a score of the Noyce Scholar’s comfort in teaching students with disabilities in their STEM class.
The main outcome for this study are changes in scores on the TAIS. Initial data suggests that most Noyce Scholars have significantly increased their confidence when thinking about working with students with different types of disabilities. Researchers will continue to collect data and begin to follow Noyce Scholars as they move into the classroom.
Results from this project could inform how teacher preparation programs design their non-special education programs. Data from this study will provide some initial evidence as to the effectiveness of a few targeted workshops to help inform general education teachers about working with students with disabilities.