Exploring the nature of diverse disciplinary teams in integrated STEM teacher education curricula at Australian universities.

Year: 2021

Author: Stevenson, Emma

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Internationally, many see STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education as a means of enhancing a nations innovative potential, economic stability and twenty first century employment needs. However, competing definitions, intended outcomes and implementation approaches provide a challenging educational environment for teachers in this field, particularly for those traditionally prepared for and experienced in disciplinary teaching. More recently, the STEM education dialogue has turned its focus to preparing teachers for the design and implementation of integrated versions of STEM education. Existing research highlights a myriad of curriculum approaches to STEM teacher education, commonly pertaining to individual programs and their outcomes. While useful, missing from this research is a broad and in-depth exploration of the characteristics of STEM teacher education curriculum uptake, design, implementation, and attainment. This study aims to fill this gap by offering in-depth analysis of STEM teacher education at Australian universities. Underpinned by a qualitative and phenomenological research design, the lived experiences of fourteen teacher education course coordinators, thirteen STEM teacher educators and eleven STEM teacher education students (pre-service and in-service teachers) from across eight Australian universities were gathered through questionnaires, interviews, and curriculum documents. In this study, a grounded approach to analyzing these varied perspectives revealed a medley of valued curriculum characteristics. This presentation will consider one of these characteristics- diverse disciplinary teams- and discuss the different types, roles and value attributed to this theme within STEM teacher education curricula. These findings offer insights which may support the decision making of those designing and implementing STEM teacher education curricula.