The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain a better understanding of how induction programs might effectively support STEM K–8 teacher preparation. American schools are not producing competent STEM graduates prepared to meet employment demands. Over the next decade, STEM employment opportunities are expected to increase twice as fast as all other occupations combined. To meet the economic needs, the STEM pipeline must be expanded to educate and produce additional STEM graduates. The meeting of this objective begins with having the teachers working in American classrooms fully prepared and trained in STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy. Research shows that the interest in STEM subjects starts in elementary school and, therefore, the preparation of elementary teachers to be proficient in teaching STEM to their students is vital. However, most induction programs do not focus on preparing their teachers in STEM. This study researched the Alternative Induction Pathway (AIP) program, which had STEM preparation as one of its core outcomes in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). It investigated the program’s effectiveness in preparing K–8 teachers with STEM content knowledge, curriculum, pedagogical instruction preparation, and the program elements that contributed the most to their experience in the program and overall STEM preparation as a result. This study was carried out over the course of approximately 6 months. Data included focused interviews with participants as well as analysis of existing documents in order to triangulate perspectives from multiple sources. The AIP program had varied levels of effectiveness in STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy preparation. Relationships between the induction mentor, the administration, and the participating teacher, when strong and positive, were powerful contributions to the success of the acquisition and integration of the STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy. The most effective components of the AIP program were the monthly support groups, the curricular resources, and the professional development nights facilitating the teaching and learning process for the participating teacher in STEM integration. The results of this training included examples of well-planned and executed STEM lessons with creative risk-taking, and enhanced confidence for teachers and administrators alike. At the same time, the AIP program had struggles in achieving the desired outcomes of STEM integration, due to lack of preliminary training for program administrators in STEM integration, varied needs between the MS and SS credential teachers, and state standard requirements that spoke to science and mathematics, but not engineering or technology. The main recommendation for policy from the results of this study is that STEM should be woven into preservice and continue through induction and professional development to become one of the main tenets of curriculum development and standards of effective teaching. This policy would affect colleges of education and district induction programs, requiring that STEM courses be added or embedded into the credential pathways. However, this approach would ensure that STEM integration is supported academically as an important and valued aspect of the teacher’s entrance to their career, and that pre-service teachers are ready to take advantage of induction offerings on STEM integration in the induction phase and throughout their careers in continuing professional development. The study also provides practice and research recommendations in regard to possible roles and supports for mentor teachers, including their relationships with resident teachers, as well as suggestions for and to maximize the benefits for effective teaching and learning during the induction process.
|Commitee:||Henriques, Laura, Stallones, Jared|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Elementary education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Engineering, Induction, Mathematics, Science, Teacher preparation, Technology|
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