- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1136377
- First Name Lisa
- Last Name Borgerding
- Discipline Other: All math and science
Joanne Caniglia, Kent State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Borgerding, Kent State University, email@example.com
According to a report on educator supply and demand in the United States (Bobbitt, Cunningham, & Gillespie, 2008), teaching job opportunities are relatively stable. Yet, many science teaching fields reported a shortage of qualified teachers.
Previous literature has identified how teaching internships can be possible avenues for recruiting more science and math teachers into the field. Successful internships include (1) opportunities for interns to make personal goals and reflect on them regularly, (2) focus on student learning rather than behavior, (3) opportunities to develop consistent rapport with students (Borgerding, 2015). Successful recruitment endeavors, in general, are aligned with the philosophy of teacher education, provide purposeful experience that build over time, attend to the prior experiences of potential teachers, and prompt reflection on teaching effectiveness (Luft, 2011).
The present research examines interns’ experiences in a program that offers this support and explores the extent to which STEM teaching internships impact undergraduate STEM majors’ satisfaction and interest in STEM teaching. The scholarly aims of this study are to investigate which program features (e.g. prompted reflection, goal-setting, focus on student learning, rapport with students) most impact STEM teaching interns’ interest in and satisfaction with teaching.
The KSU Noyce Internship program funds undergraduate STEM majors to assist STEM teaching in various local internship sites (Upward Bound on campus, Child Development Center on Campus, Science Camps in Ravenna). The internships are part-time, paid by an NSF grant, and last between 4-5 weeks over the summer. As part of their internship, interns (1) attend a mandatory orientation/training meeting, (2) submit daily teaching reflections, and (3) participate in an end-of-internship exit interview.
This study employs a multiple case study approach in which several individual cases are examined and compared via a cross-case analysis. While all eight Noyce Interns (undergraduate STEM majors) were invited to participate in the study, only three cases are explored in this cross-case analysis.
Four main data sources were used for this study. The first data source consists of participants’ application materials including their demographic information, resume, and an essay about their experiences in STEM and future career. Second, we used a teaching satisfaction pre/post survey based on the 37-item FIT Scale (Watts & Richardson, 2007). A third source of data includes collected daily teaching reflections. The final source of data included post-interviews about interns’ experiences, teaching interest, and what they learned throughout their internships.
Data analysis for this poster presentation is ongoing, and much more of the preliminary findings will be available when presented at the Summit. However, two noteworthy aspects of interns and their internships have been emerging as important for explaining participants’ experiences. First, interns? motivation for participating in the internships is particularly important. Second, the nature of the internships themselves are important for explaining participants’ experiences. Specifically, over half of the interns participated in ‘split’ internships where they worked with Upward Bound high school students for part of their internship and at various summer STEM camps for younger children.
The broader impacts of this project include (1) the positive math and science teaching and learning experiences for both the interns and the hundreds of science/math students they have worked with; (2) the development of partnerships between the KSU teacher education program and the several community partners that have served as internship host sites; and (3) the development of knowledge about how to improve interns’ experiences in these teacher-recruitment internships. The initial part of this work (Borgerding, 2015) has been disseminated via a journal article publication, and the new parts of this work are currently being researched and will be disseminated further following analysis.