- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1556983
- First Name Lesa
- Last Name Beverly
- Discipline Other: Education
Chrissy Cross, SFASU, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dennis Gravatt, SFASU, email@example.com; Keith Hubbard, SFASU, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jonathan Mitchell, SFASU, email@example.com
Chrissy Cross, SFASU, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dennis Gravatt, SFASU, email@example.com; Keith Hubbard, SFASU, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jonathan Mitchell, SFASU, mitchelljonat@sfasu
This research is important because it outlines an early field experience as a method of recruiting with the intent of ensuring that each participant has an accurate idea of what a career in STEM teaching entails. This structure creates a better information set for the participant to use to make a choice to pursue and remain a STEM teacher. Colleges and universities need to evaluate recruitment methods, not just for success in recruiting participants, but also to identify if the recruitment method actually led to participants pursuing a STEM teaching career. This study helps identify methods for designing research that helps identify that connection. There is little research about recruiting efforts that utilize field experience as a recruitment method, in addition, there is little research about how recruitment efforts impact the participants choices to pursue a career in STEM teaching. This research helps to fill those gaps.
The objective of this research was to investigate the impact of an early intensive field experience on the perceptions of potential STEM teachers and their desire to pursue a career in a STEM teaching field. The research question framing this study was, ‘How does the Master Teacher Job Shadow (MTJS) as an early intensive field experience influence participant perception and desire to pursue a career in a STEM teaching field?’
Based upon John Dewey’s premise that the foundation of quality education is experience (Dewey, 2007), and the current research supporting early intensive field experience as a component of effective teacher education (Darling-Hammond, 2006). This research examined an early intensive field experience used as a recruitment method called the Master Teacher Job Shadow. The MTJS allows participants to experience STEM teaching with a mentor teacher for a full week before they have even enrolled in the educator preparation program. Data was collected over a period of four years. The research site was a rural school district in East Texas, and there were a total of 63 participants, 44 female and 19 male. A qualitative research design and methodology was utilized to examine participants surveys, daily journals, and focus groups to determine how the MTJS influenced the perceptions of the participants due to the phenomenological design of the field experience.
Our research findings indicate that the MTJS does indeed influence participants perceptions of STEM teaching in a variety of ways, specifically how the participants perceived high school students, classroom management, teachers, and teaching as a career. In addition, we determined that 46% of the MTJS participants went on to choose to pursue teaching as a profession, while 54% of participants did not pursue certification. We also found that 70% of the participants who communicated an increased interest in a teaching career, did actually go on to pursue a teaching career. Equally important, those who did not have increased desire to teach, those who communicated mixed responses or a decrease in their desire to teach, 0% of those participants chose to pursue a teacher certification in the state of Texas. Based upon our findings, we recommend universities implement a similar early intensive field experience for recruiting and identifying potential STEM teachers.
This research has the potential to influence not just STEM teacher recruitment efforts, but also how those recruitment efforts are structure and how data is collected to determine the efficacy of those recruitment efforts. We recommend that universities, educator preparation programs, and STEM departments collaborate to build a partnership with local public school STEM teachers in order to provide this rich and rewarding recruitment and early intense field experience in order to improve the accuracy of perceptions of STEM teaching in public schools, as well as increase confidence of undergraduate’s who choose to pursue a career in STEM teaching. We hope to continue the MTJS to recruit STEM teachers, and shift our data collection to also include the length of time, the STEM teachers are choosing to stay in the field of teaching.