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Teachers’ Perceptions of Professional Development in Integrated STEM Education in Primary Schools
Shudan Zheng, Ka Wai Gary Wong

Last modified: 2018-04-23

Abstract


The promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education aims to provide students with chances of solving real-world problems based on their disciplinary knowledge and skills. One teaching approach in STEM is through integration, which may enable students to understand the interconnection among disciplines and formulate a solution with consideration of multiple disciples. To implement STEM education in primary schools, an attention has been paid to teachers’ professional development (PD), and one particular interest is to develop an effective way to elevate the teachers’ knowledge in engineering to become capable in teaching in the integrated approach. In order to guide policymakers to design an effective PD workshop/course, our work aims to first gain an understanding of teachers’ expectations toward the PD and then develop a conceptual PD model for integrated STEM. This paper conducts a qualitative case study to deeper analyze primary school teachers’ perception of PD and STEM education, as well as their potential challenges. The data came from the individual interview with eight in-service primary teachers (n = 8), the result shows that teachers’ challenges in attending PD lie in the intrinsic challenge of a lack of knowledge in 1). how to apply knowledge learned into practical teaching, 2). differentiation of needs and skills, and 3). their values while extrinsic challenges are reflected in aspects of 4). a lack of support, 5). vague school decision and 6). a lack of guidance of direction. Regarding their expectation of STEM PD, suggestions could be made on a focus of content & pedagogical knowledge of STEM subjects, practical activities and contextualisation.