June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.878.1 - 26.878.10
Identifying Why STEM Students Seek Teaching Internships The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program has been implemented through the NSF toencourage science, techology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors to become K-12 mathematicsand science teachers. To increase the number of STEM majors exposed to the teaching profession andapplying for undergraduate/graduate education programs, a paid teaching internship program for currentSTEM undergraduates was created at our institution. This program currently places students withsecondary STEM teachers to observe, assist and finally teach under supervision. The high number of applicants and the competative applicant pool (similar to demographics, GPAand background reported for REU applications) led to the following research questions: (1) How doSTEM students’ perceptions of their present activities and future goals relate to their desire to gainteaching experience?, (2) To what extent do STEM students applying to for teaching internships feel thatthey belong in their current STEM major?, (3) How do these students characterize teaching, and whatattributes do they possess that align with attributes of teachers? Information from program applicationsand electronic questionnaires were our data sources. The questionnaire asked about background,demographics, reasons for pursuing a teaching internship, attributes of professionals in teaching and inSTEM, previous internship experiences, whether they felt a sense of belonging in their currentdepartment, and future goals. In Fall 2014, the applicant pool (n = 51; average age 20.9 ± 2.0 years) drew from majors inengineering (47%), mathematics (10%) and science (41%). Applicants had an average GPA of 3.39 ±0.45 and were mostly upperclassman: 31% seniors, 31% juniors, 24% sophomores, 2% freshman and12% chose not to report. Six applicants (11.7% response rate) completed the electronic questionnaire. Students indicatedthat they sought teaching experiences to gain experience for their future (either in their STEM field or ineducation), to help others, or for self-development (including self-reflection or increasing income). Threestudents did not feel that they had a sense of belonging in their current departments. Students perceived teachers to possess strong social skills and attributes such as leadership,outgoingness, and caring. They primarily perceived professionals in STEM fields to have strongmental/academic skills and attributes such as good time management skills, problem solving skills, andwork ethic. From these responses, only two of six respondents listed commonalities between teachingand STEM (leadership and intelligence). All respondants indicated that they did not have internship or coop experiences in their currentSTEM fields. Survey data collection is ongoing, and will switch to paper surveys to increase responserate. Future work includes examining underlying reasons why applicants to the teaching internshipprogram may not have internship or coop experiences in their current STEM fields, and reasons why theymay not feel a sense of belonging in their current majors.
Kennedy, M. S., & Benson, L., & McGough, C. D., & Cook, M. (2015, June), Identifying Why STEM Students Seek Teaching Internships Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24215
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