What do primary teachers think about STEM education? Exploring cross-cultural perspectives

Book chapter


Smith, Kathy, George, Sindu Vinod and Mansfield, Jennifer. (2020). What do primary teachers think about STEM education? Exploring cross-cultural perspectives. In In Fitzgerald, Angela, Haeusler, Carole and Pfeiffer, Linda (Ed.). STEM education in primary classrooms : Unravelling contemporary approaches in Australia and New Zealand pp. 115-130 Routledge.
AuthorsSmith, Kathy, George, Sindu Vinod and Mansfield, Jennifer
EditorsFitzgerald, Angela, Haeusler, Carole and Pfeiffer, Linda
Abstract

[Excerpt] STEM education has been positioned as a global priority (Panizzon, Corrigan, Forgasz, & Hopkins, 2015; Marginson,Tytler, Freeman, & Roberts, 2013), yet the associated demands of such aspirations are confronting education systems worldwide. Much has been written about the challenges of enacting effective STEM education, particularly when the acronym is characterised by vague defnitions (Panizzon et al., 2015). For educators, tensions often begin to emerge when education and economic agendas become confated, placing stronger emphases on schools as part of the STEM pipeline for future workforces rather than a place that nurtures and inspires the academic achievement and personal development of every student (Lyon, Jafri, & St Louis, 2012).

STEM disciplines have long been seen as diffcult and disengaging areas of study for many students and challenging for primary teachers, who may hold limited background knowledge in these areas. Concern has been raised about the capacity of teachers, particularly primary teachers, to assist students in developing the required conceptual knowledge, skills and capabilities associated with effective STEM education (Lottero-Perdue & Parry, 2017).There is also concern about the capacity of teachers to fnd more effective ways to meet the learning needs of a diverse range of learners, ensuring that each student is highly engaged and develops a positive sense of achievement and self-effcacy in STEM education (Lyon et al., 2012; Milesi, Perez-Felkner, Brown, & Schneider, 2017).

At a time when schools and teachers are grappling with the place of STEM education within existing educational demands and priorities, it is important to consider the infuences at play that determine how teachers defne student achievement and how they attend to student learning.This chapter discusses the fndings of a small cross-cultural study exploring STEM education with primary teachers from Australia and from India. The study set out to determine what primary teachers think about STEM education and the support that they feel they need to enhance their practice and student learning. However, the fndings also revealed that culture and social norms infuence how these teachers think and work in STEM education, ultimately shaping the learning opportunities they create for their students.

Page range115-130
Year2020
Book titleSTEM education in primary classrooms : Unravelling contemporary approaches in Australia and New Zealand
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
ISBN9780429277689
9781000051421
1000051420
Web address (URL)https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/acu/detail.action?docID=6132273
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Publication dates
Online01 Apr 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Nov 2021
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