New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
We describe a professional development program that supports integration of STEM and Literacy through Engineering Design for 24 in-service middle school math and science teachers in rural Appalachia. Through this program, teachers experience Engineering Design as learners, develop lesson plans utilizing engineering design to teach specific relevant math and science content standards and objectives, and receive formative feedback and content knowledge coaching as they deliver and fine-tune those lessons.
Project TESAL (Teachers Engaged in STEM and Literacy) is a three-year professional development program that includes annual two-week summer face-to-face intensive workshops followed by classroom observations with supportive feedback and four additional day-long trainings throughout the school year. We describe the program in detail, as well as evaluation findings from the first year of implementation.
Project TESAL has been successful recruiting a diverse group of mathematics, science, and special educators, and at engaging them in professional development they find valuable. The T-STEM survey revealed that professional development successfully increased participating teachers’ confidence to teach engineering design, their confidence that they can influence their students’ STEM performance, and their knowledge of STEM careers, as well as the amount they expect to utilize technology and instruction following STEM best educational practices.
Participating teachers identified several strengths of Project TESAL. Participants particularly valued being active participants in learning, opportunities for collaborating with peers and outside experts around the work of teaching, focusing on subject matter content across mathematics and science and students’ learning of that content, and the sustained ongoing nature of Project TESAL where the work teachers did in professional development was fully relevant to their work as classroom teachers. These strengths align directly with best practices for professional development and for overcoming the challenges of professional development specifically on math-science integration and engineering design instruction.
As we move forward in this three-year project, we focus on continuing to identify teachers’ current knowledge, skills, and attitudes as foundations for adding value to their knowledge base and instructional skill set. We are particularly excited about further developing a system linking individual assessment and individualized skills development to facilitate coaching teachers to strengthen their pedagogical content knowledge and support student learning in engineering design, mathematics, science, and literacy. We are leveraging relationships with the state Department of Education to acquire student-level standardized test scores for participating and comparison group teachers in a quasi-experimental propensity score matched design. Given the strong evidence of impact on teachers and implementation of engineering design lessons by teachers with their students, we have reason to be optimistic that this will reveal positive impact on student learning.
Curtis, R., & Cairns, D., & Bolyard, J., & Loomis, D. L., & Watts, K. L., & Mathew, S., & Carte, M. T. (2016, June), Integrating STEM and Literacy through Engineering Design: Evaluation of Professional Development for Middle School Math and Science Teachers (Program/Curriculum Evaluation) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25410
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