June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
This WIP paper reports the first year’s evaluation of a program where elementary teachers were trained to implement Project Lead The Way Launch modules in a summer STEM Academy for grades K-6. The goal of this project was to understand how the experience of teaching an informal STEM program influenced teachers’ confidence for teaching STEM in their formal classroom. We used a combination of quantitative surveys and qualitative analysis of focus groups and individual teacher interviews to explore teachers’ self-efficacy for teaching STEM and the benefits teachers observed for themselves and their students from participating in the program.
Methods A total of 44 teachers participated in the professional development training and then taught in the Summer Engineering Academy. Just five of the participating teachers had previously participated in any STEM professional development. Three of these teachers had led a robotics or STEM Challenge program in their schools. As part of our evaluation of the program, we gathered a wide variety of data from the teachers including the Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy Scale (TESS; Yoon Yoon, Evans, & Strobel, 2014) and Teacher Efficacy and Attitudes toward STEM Survey (T-STEM; Friday Institute, 2012).
Results for Teacher Self-Efficacy We used a repeated measures ANOVA to look at the change in scores on each of the three self-efficacy measures. We found that all three showed significant increases from pre to post-test at the PD workshop. All had large effect sizes. Once the academy started, engineering and science teaching self-efficacy maintained their levels through the post-summer survey. However, technology self-efficacy dropped following the summer program (pairwise comparison, p < .05).
At the end of the four-week program, the evaluation team conducted focus groups with program teachers asking questions about teachers’ comfort with STEM, their perceptions of student gains, and their own learning experiences. The following is an outline of the themes identified from the seven focus groups. In the full paper, quotes will support each.
What the Students Learned 1. Students stopped expecting there to be right and wrong answers 2. Students were responsible for their own learning 3. Students learned how to evaluate and discuss a problem 4. Students learned to collaborate and work well in groups 5. Students learn perseverance and to keep trying and solving problems
What the Teachers Learned and Plan to do in the future 1. How teachers plan to change their teaching as a result of this experience 2. Increased appreciation of their students 3. Teachers learned it was OK for them not to have the answers all the time 4. Hands on learning was noted to be especially helpful for less able students
By December, we will conduct follow-up interviews with teachers on their formal classroom for the school year. We are hopeful that the teachers’ plans to incorporate more scientific inquiry into their classroom will be translated into the classroom by then. Overall, we believe that the opportunity to teach informal STEM was a positive learning experience for teachers and will expand their formal teaching practices.
Lakin, J. M., & Ewald, M. L., & Blanco, N. N., & Gilpin, J. A. (2019, June), Board 117: Work in Progress: Impact of Teaching Engineering Summer Academy on Teacher Efficacy and Teaching Beliefs Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32202
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