June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.1188.1 - 24.1188.24
The Attitudes of Elementary Teachers towards Elementary Engineering (research to practice) In this paper, we ask: What attitudes do elementary school teachers hold about engineering education in the elementary grades? How do those attitudes change after they attend professional development for implementing elementary engineering? How do attitudes change after they implement an engineering curriculum in their own classrooms? What are the psychometrics and scales for the instrument? As part of a large‐scale research study of the efficacy of an engineering curriculum, we recruited ~250 teachers from 150 schools and randomly assigned them (at the school level) to treatment and comparison conditions. We devised a STEM attitudes survey based upon previously published instruments, and revised after validity testing with several hundred subjects. We administered our new STEM attitudes survey to these teachers before our introductory PD workshop; we also administered the same survey before and again after implementing a new engineering unit. Results thus far show the instrument is reliable, with the expected scales also showing internal consistency reliability. Further details of psychometrics will be given in the final paper. From the pre‐survey, we have found that elementary teachers are far more positive about the benefits of teaching science than about the benefits of teaching engineering. They more strongly agree that science, rather than engineering, should be taught to “promote an understanding of how science/engineering affects society”, “to educate future scientists, engineers, and technologists for industry”, “to prepare young people for their future career options”, “to help my students develop an understanding of the natural/human‐made world”, and “to promote an enjoyment of learning”. Teachers also more strongly agreed that science, rather than engineering, “should be taught during preschool”, “should be taught during elementary school”, and should be studied at the university level. Their answers indicated that they believed science is more important for citizens to understand. They also indicated a greater desire and more positive feeling about teaching science than engineering. Further details about the survey, including characterization of teachers’ stereotypical ideas about engineering, will be presented in the final paper. As the post‐survey data is entered and analyzed, we will also be able to answer questions about how teachers’ attitudes change due to their participation in the engineering education professional development and curriculum.
Lachapelle, C. P., & Hertel, J. D., & Shams, M. F., & San Antonio, C., & Cunningham, C. M. (2014, June), The Attitudes of Elementary Teachers towards Elementary Engineering (research to practice) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23121
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