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An alternative model for mathematics and science initial teacher education

Citation

Fraser, S, An alternative model for mathematics and science initial teacher education, Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, 28-30 September 2016, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1. ISBN 978-0-9871834-4-6 (2016) [Conference Extract]


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Abstract

Background

While there has been substantial movement towards integrating the study of STEM disciplines in the United States (Becker & Park, 2011), the situation in Australia is such that these disciplines are still largely taught separately (Blackley & Howell, 2015). This abstract reports on the development of an innovative four-year undergraduate ITE degree for secondary teachers, the Bachelor of Education (Science and Mathematics) (BEDSM) developed as part of the IMSITE project. Students enrolled in the degree will simultaneously study a science major, mathematics minor and education units that have been designed to allow for teaching and learning with an integrated STEM approach.

Aims

The aim of the research was to assess the attractiveness of the BEDSM to science and mathematics teachers and career counsellors in secondary schools with a view to determining the potential for the program to attract future students.

Design and methods

Face-to-face interviews were conducted in March 2015 with 12 staff from secondary schools in close vicinity to the university. Interviewees comprised nine teachers or heads of department for science and/or mathematics and three school career counsellors. All interviews were digitally recorded and subsequently transcribed. The data were coded to allow for the identification of common themes across the dataset. Prior to the interview, each participant was provided with an overview of the BEDMS, with a focus on the differences in delivery style with other ITE programs and the integrated STEM approach being utilised. Following this, participants were asked for their views in relation to the approach being taken, how attractive the program might be to future ITE students and how likely they were to recommend the program.

Results

The interviewees identified two distinct market groups, namely school students who viewed teaching as a career option and wished to take the shortest route to achieving that goal, and mature age people looking to change careers to be a mathematics and science teacher, but who lacked the formal academic qualifications to gain direct entry to a postgraduate teacher education program. The major challenges to the success of the program appears to be the possibility that graduates of the BEDMS would not be sufficiently prepared in the science and mathematics content to be successful teachers and that the program is offered in distance mode only. Of particular interest was that only one participant identified the integrated nature of the program as an advantage, while two indicated the requirement to study both mathematics and science was a disadvantage.

The primary source of negative sentiment in relation to the BEDMS was the perception that graduates would be underprepared in the science and mathematics content, particularly when compared to teachers who graduate with an undergraduate degree in these fields.

Conclusions

The primary conclusion in relation to the capacity of the BEDMS to attract students direct from secondary schools is that there would need to be a marketing approach targeting school students that emphasizes the advantages of a direct career path to teaching and the shorter time to entry into the profession. It was also concluded that the advantages of having studied via an integrated ITE program in mathematics and science and the rigorous nature of the science/mathematics content would need to be marketed to teachers and career counsellors in secondary schools in order to gain their support for the program.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:initial teacher education, mathematics education, science education
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and Pedagogy
Research Field:Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Curriculum
Objective Field:Syllabus and Curriculum Development
Author:Fraser, S (Associate Professor Sharon Fraser)
ID Code:113642
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-01-11
Last Modified:2017-01-16
Downloads:0

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