"My Picture is About Opening Up Students' Minds Beyond Our School Gate!" School Principals' Perceptions of STEM Learning Environments


  • Vesife Hatisaru University of Tasmania
  • Sharon Fraser University of Tasmania
  • Kim Beswick University of New South Wales




STEM Learning Environments, School Principals, Drawings, STEM Education


The provision of effective leadership in STEM education is essential to support teachers to consider approaches to STEM and to carry them out effectively. Principals’ perceptions of STEM teaching and learning are, therefore, significant. In this paper we report on the perceptions of 21 primary and secondary school principals through their completion of the Draw a STEM Learning Environment Test (D-STEM), assessed through a customised rubric. Findings revealed that the participant principals maintained a diversity of interpretations of STEM learning environments primarily equated to the use of student-centred pedagogies in classrooms. Very few responses depicted and/or described teaching and learning practices anchored in realistic problems, which can enable the integration of individual STEM disciplines, and engage students in the translation of concepts across multiple representations. The use of representational tools remained implicit or was absent in most of the responses. Findings are discussed along with methodological issues, and implications and future research directions are suggested.


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How to Cite

Hatisaru, V., Fraser, S., & Beswick, K. (2020). "My Picture is About Opening Up Students’ Minds Beyond Our School Gate!" School Principals’ Perceptions of STEM Learning Environments. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 6(1), 18–38. https://doi.org/10.51355/jstem.2020.79