Primary Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of stem Education: Conceptualisations and Psychosocial Factors

in STEM Education: An Emerging Field of Inquiry
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The aim of this paper is to examine pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) perceptions of stem education, including their conceptualisations and psychosocial factors associated with teaching it. Methods used to in this study to elicit PSTs’ perceptions included surveys, online responses and drawings. PSTs in this sample commonly conceptualised stem education as involving an integrated approach, placing an emphasis on the relationships between disciplines. PSTs also frequently discussed the importance of developing students’ generic skills, using problem-based learning and inquiry-related pedagogies. Some participants positioned stem education as a way of promoting workforce skills and dispositions in their future students. PSTs generally reported positive attitudes to teaching stem education. They also reported a number of normative influences to teach stem, however there appeared to be limited opportunities to develop their teaching capacity on professional experience in schools. Relatively low levels of self-efficacy to teach particular areas of stem were reported by PSTs, particularly engineering and digital technologies. This paper contributes to debates on calls for reform to teacher education programs and discourses about PSTs perceptions of stem education.

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