The Impact of Engagement in STEM Activities on Primary Preservice Teachers’ Conceptualization of STEM and Knowledge of STEM Pedagogy
The purpose of current study was to explore the weaknesses and strengths in pre-service primary teachers’ (PST) conceptualization of STEM and their knowledge of STEM pedagogy after engaging in integrated STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) activities for one semester. The course activities emphasized concepts related to engineering design process, the interrelatedness of STEM subjects, inquiry and problem solving. The integrated STEM activities were implemented for six weeks. Data were collected through a questionnaire, reflection papers, semi-structured interviews with a sub set of participants (n=8/20). Results show that engaging students in immersive STEM activities helped PSTs develop foundational knowledge regarding STEM, engineering design and STEM pedagogy, which they could built on later to more effectively teach through STEM integration. Discussion focuses on how PSTs and practicing teachers can be supported through sustained professional development for STEM integration pedagogy.