- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758317
- First Name Amanda
- Last Name Gunning
- Discipline Other: STEM Teaching
Meghan E. Marrero, Mercy College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Elena Nitecki, Mercy College, email@example.com; Marion Ben-Jacob, Mercy College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Renee Haskew-Layton, Mercy College, email@example.com
Amanda M. Gunning, Mercy College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Meghan E. Marrero, Mercy College, email@example.com
After New York State adopted their version of the NGSS, the impetus for integrated STEM instruction became even more imperative. Integrated STEM approaches to instruction can be more engaging and meaningful for students, especially when connected to students’ lives and interests. But studies show that K-12 teachers believe that implementing engineering design in their classrooms is important, yet that they do not feel familiar or comfortable enough to actually do so, and may even exhibit anxiety toward the subject (Hsu, Cardella, & Purzer, 2010; Katehi, Pearson, & Feder, 2009; Yaşar, Baker, Robinson‐Kurpius, Krause, & Roberts, 2006) . The first course for PD for Fellows in this program is ‘Enhancing Math with STEM’ and positioned the content from an equity perspective to drive participation of URRM in STEM. Research has been struggling to catch up with the explosion of STEM education programs and exploring a master’s level course to address this pressing need will help inform the body of knowledge in the field.
This study focuses on Teacher Fellow development during their first semester in the STEM MTF program. We examine how their instructional planning and comfort with STEM teaching changes during the course of the semester through surveys, reflections, lessons and researcher observations.
A hallmark of the STEM MTF program is professionalism connected to teacher leadership and the need for more teacher mentors and catalysts for STEM education in the K-12 setting. Many teachers seek increased professionalism in their work. Some are unsure how to achieve it; some lack role models and mentors to help them begin that development. Educational policies even contribute to negative attitudes toward teachers as professionals (Wilson & Youngs, 2005). Yet teacher leadership is an avenue to increase job satisfaction and overall quality of teaching and school improvement (Barth, 2001; Corbell, Osborne, & Reiman, 2010; Dauksas & White, 2010; Moore-Johnson & Kardos, 2008). Our vision of STEM teacher leadership elevates the image of teachers as professionals and capitalizes on their expertise in instructional leadership.Teacher leaders are primary catalysts for district-wide student success in STEM subjects.
Through this research we will share with the community methods for developing practicing teachers’ STEM pedagogical knowledge, as well as methods for master’s-level courses in STEM pedagogy. This helps to meet a growing need for ways to prepare teachers for this growing need. In the future, we will be able to share course syllabus, assignments, and activities so other organizations may implement their own version of what we found to be successful. This course will continue to be studied before we share these, as it will be implemented again in Fall 2019 with our second STEM MTF cohort. The course will be offered each year after, allowing for continued research on the model.
The STEM MTF gives 14 diverse master teachers of K-12 math and science PD via graduate courses in STEM pedagogy under the guidance of STEM/STEM education faculty. Following coursework, Fellows implement leadership projects in their districts. Using best practices supported by literature, with assessment and evaluation data gathered through ongoing assessment over the course of the project, we will implement strategies that work best to develop and retain teachers in these high-need areas. In a report on retaining teachers of color, the Center for American Progress recommends that innovative programming for teachers to support their development and opportunities to enrich subject-area knowledge for teachers, as well as avenues for career advancement can support retention (Partee, 2014). STEM and education faculty mentoring, with a capstone teacher leadership course, will enable Fellows to create leadership projects in their districts that prepare them to assume further leadership roles.