Reconceptualising Stem Teacher Education Practice

Year: 2015

Author: Tytler, Russell, Clarke, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Concerns about STEM engagement and participation in Australia has led policy advocacy at a range of levels, spearheaded at national level by the Office of the Chief Scientist. In the schooling system, the gathering of policy concerns around the acronym STEM has been largely interpreted as a need for reform in mathematics and science curriculum and classroom practice, but there is growing interest in translating STEM as a gathering term for trans-disciplinary pedagogies focusing on inquiry and problem solving as a means to better engage students in these subjects. There has also been growing advocacy for better curricular representation of the knowledge building practices of contemporary STEM professionals. This is evident in the recent Australian Curriculum documents in Science and Mathematics, with renewed focus on inquiry skills, problem solving and reasoning, and science as a human endeavour, and on proliferation of partnerships between practicing STEM professionals and schools.
ReMSTEP (Reconceptualising Mathematics and Science Teacher Education) is an initiative shared between four Victorian Universities to introduce contemporary STEM research practices into pre-service teacher education in order to engage these future teachers in inquiry and problem solving pedagogies that will translate into curriculum and classroom practices. As part of this project we have developed processes to link PSTs with research scientists to: a) develop curriculum resources, and b) trial these resources in schools, sometimes alongside scientists and teachers.
The project outputs include 1) education products exemplifying contemporary STEM practice through inquiry and problem solving classroom pedagogies, 2) the development of sustainable processes through which STEM and Education faculties and institutions can collaborate around teacher education, and 3) the development of course structures aimed at improvements in recruiting and educating STEM teachers. The presentation focuses on the development of a framework to describe a variety of productive interactions between pre-service teachers, science educators, and STEM professionals, and the learning that arises from these. The research draws on field notes, interviews, and surveys. The presentation will also engage with the question of how we might represent STEM as trans-disciplinary classroom practice.