July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Pre-College Engineering Education
A study was conducted to examine the barriers of the Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) students at X University from entering the classroom as science, engineering, or math teachers after graduation. The project aims to better understand the experiences and thought processes of the pre-service teachers to improve recruitment strategies to grow and diversify potential teacher candidates, while also strengthening the program in order to better prepare the teacher candidates (TC) to teach in high-need schools. An engineering design-based research (DBR) approach was taken to investigate two research questions: • Do TPP teacher candidates have unmet needs and where do they have barriers preventing them from becoming secondary STEM teachers? • How do the local secondary schools, teachers, and hiring managers assess the TPP teacher candidates and graduates, and what specifically is required for their high-need schools? The design-based research involved understanding “users” who are experiencing the Teacher Preparation Program system such that the system can be improved to better meet their needs. Users in this system are the teacher candidates, and the set of users working in the TPP system as supervising practitioners/mentor teachers, program supervisors, and hiring managers. A mixed method (i.e., quantitative and qualitative) approach was used. Surveys were administered to students attending TPP info sessions and to students currently in the Teacher Preparation Program. Factors affecting interest and decisions about teaching included family influences/support, teaching-related experiences, internships, financial aid, etc. Additionally, an external consultant led interviews with the TPP students, mentor teachers, and hiring managers (as part of an NSF Noyce Capacity Building grant).
By redesigning the Teacher Preparation Program system with information from what users are saying and showing as their need, rather than what the project team and organization hypothesizes or desires, not only will the system work better for those who are experiencing it, but the changes will be sustainable and necessary. This is analogous to a product development team listening to customers (the users) and redesigning the product or service for them instead of solely incorporating new features and the technical aspects of the product. By using human-centered design tools to engage users from the teacher candidate pool and from the local secondary education agencies in a deep and thoughtful way, not only will there be a better system but the relationships with these users will be more authentic and lasting, and result in true partnerships. By bringing users into the redesign and making their voices and needs an integral part of what aspects are kept and what aspects are modified, the system becomes more robust for preparing great teachers for pre-college learners. We ultimately seek to increase and diversify our teacher candidate pool and to build strong partnerships with local, high-need schools that are ready to supervise, mentor, and hire our teacher candidates and graduates for their STEM classrooms. Preliminary findings and recommendations for interventions will be shared and may be useful for other STEM teacher preparation programs.
Chen, K. C., & Weaver, S., & Fougere, G. (2021, July), Utilizing an Engineering Design-Based Research Approach to Study and Strengthen a Teacher Preparation Program in STEM at the Secondary Level (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38007
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