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Eliciting P 12 Mexican Teachers’ Images Of Engineering: What Do Engineers Do?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.451.1 - 15.451.9



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Paper Authors


Silvia Carreño Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Silvia Carreño is Science, Engineering, and Technology Education Ph.D. Student at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. She teaches English related courses. Her research interests include women in science and engineering, and creating
effective learning environments.

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Enrique Palou Universidad de las Americas, Puebla

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Enrique Palou is Director, Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology Education; and Professor, Department of Chemical and Food Engineering at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. He teaches engineering, food science, and education related courses. His research interests include emerging technologies for food processing, creating effective learning
environments, and building rigorous research capacity in science, engineering and technology education.

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Aurelio López-Malo Universidad de las Americas, Puebla

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Aurelio Lopez-Malo is Professor and Chair, Department of Chemical and Food Engineering at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. He teaches food science and engineering related courses. His research interests include emerging technologies for food processing, natural antimicrobials, and active learning.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Eliciting P-12 Mexican Teachers’ Images of Engineering: What Do Engineers Do?


This study collected data using a modified Draw an Engineer (DAE) test followed up by unstructured informal interviews. The 134 Mexican teachers participating in the study were given the DAE test at the beginning of an unrelated workshop. The purpose of the DAE test was to determine individual conceptions of engineers and engineering. Analysis of the teachers’ drawings and answers to question prompts indicated the emergence of three main categories: 1) Engineers in action, 2) Occurrence of gender, and 3) Engineering tools. Drawings recorded as Repairing-Building represent 22% and portrayed mainly engineers working on a construction site. Further, 83% of the drawings were recorded as Designing-Supervising-Experimenting, depicting individuals who are mainly supervising others work. Even though the female participants (107) in this program were almost four times the number of male participants, the majority (72%) of the drawings depicted a male engineer at work. The DAE test appears to be an appropriate tool to elicit perception of the engineering profession among Mexican teachers. Analysis of constructed responses indicates that most teachers held common misconceptions about engineers while very few were knowledgeable about what engineers do.


The Mexican public has an incomplete understanding of engineers and engineering as a profession11, 14. In discussions about the public’s understanding of engineers, many reference the “conventional” stereotype of engineers as construction workers or individuals who repair mechanical and/or electronic apparatus11. Though this stereotype may exist among teachers and students as well as the public, few investigations to date have focused on Mexican teachers’ ideas about engineers and engineering. Additionally, most P-12 Mexican teachers and students never get the chance to learn about engineering1, 15. Something similar happens in the United States where P-12 teachers typically do not have adequate access to or knowledge about engineering, which limits their ability to bring engineering into their classrooms3, 8.

Teachers’ attitudes towards science affect their students’ attitudes towards science17. This means teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes toward engineers and engineering can play a significant role in perpetuating perceptions and stereotypes. The purpose of this study was to better understand how P-12 Mexican teachers conceive the concept of engineers and engineering as a profession, because these teachers will be the ones that integrate engineering into their curriculums and deliver messages about the nature of engineering to their students8. Further, beliefs regarding appropriate roles for males and females are as pervasive in our society as they are subtle. Engineering fields are no exception to the assigning of these stereotypic roles. There is evidence that the inculcation of gender stereotypes begins at a young age and that young students quickly learn which fields are “appropriate” for them13. Obviously, the “problem” of women in engineering is not simply one of recruitment. The “leaky pipeline” remains a major

Carreño, S., & Palou, E., & López-Malo, A. (2010, June), Eliciting P 12 Mexican Teachers’ Images Of Engineering: What Do Engineers Do? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15857

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