Integrated STEM Teaching Pathways

Encouraging STEM students to enter mathematics and science teaching degrees through innovative transition pathways.

Developed by staff from science, mathematics and education faculties across James Cook University, The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, the Integrated STEM Teaching Pathways project aimed to:

  • Increase the quantity of students entering mathematics and science teaching degrees through innovative transition pathways,
  • Strengthen the collaboration between science, mathematics and education faculties in the development of new pathway offerings,
  • Develop STEM teacher education principles to inform new pathways customised for each university context, and
  • Share new pathway plans, curriculum structures and processes across Queensland universities.

The Science and Mathematics Education Minor

The Science and Mathematics Education Minor was developed as an innovative pathway to “hook” Science/ Maths and Engineering students into considering STEM teaching as a viable career option. It provides students with practical teaching-related opportunities and skills which will develop their potential as educators and communicators of science and mathematics (e.g. secondary teaching, organisational training and those who are interested in becoming better, more reflective learners).

The Science and Mathematics Education Minor is rolling out at James Cook University and Queensland University of Technology and in development at The University of Queensland. 

picture10 % STEM students who would consider incorporating teacher education studies in their degree (Source: 2015 QUT data)


BACKGROUND

  • There is a critical shortage of secondary qualified Science and Mathematics teachers in Queensland with many senior science and mathematics classes taught by out of field teachers
  • Surveys of senior secondary students across Queensland and first year STEM students  have shown that between 25% and 35% would consider a career in secondary teacher education, but negative feedback from parents, peers and guidance officers led them to choosing other professions (Source: QUT STEM Camp 2014 survey data and Step Up Survey data 2015)
  • Data also shows that many students leave their chosen profession to complete a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Science and Math (i.e. ED38 Grad Dip in Education (Senior Years)) within 3 to 5 years of graduating (Source: Focus group data from GDip Secondary MS students and QCT data).

KEY FEATURES

  • Emphasises the contemporary, multi-disciplinary nature of the work of scientists
  • Provides a more authentic understanding of science and teaching careers
  • Explores communication of scientific work for educational purposes – general public, children and young people
  • Brings science and education students together in multi-disciplinary teams, culminating in a capstone learning experience
  • Articulates with postgraduate teacher education qualifications
  • Paves the way for collaboration in related course developments (eg science units in Bachelor of Education).

IMPACT

  • Increased student awareness and uptake of teaching (numbers)
  • Shifted the view of science and teaching professions amongst STEM students
  • Made teaching experiences available for mathematics and science students
  • Contributed to renewed curriculum frameworks
  • Provided a platform for continued collaborative course design and delivery between faculties
  • Encouraged curriculum change that can sustain changes in Learning and Teaching practice beyond the life of Step Up.

OUTPUTS

QUTechnology 

  • Science and Mathematics Education Minor available since 2015
  • Available to: Science, Engineering and Mathematics students
  • Four units with one unit (Curriculum Studies) involving both discipline students and pre-service teachers.

James Cook University

  • Education Minor available since 2017
  • Available to: Science and Education students
  • Designed to articulate with the new Master of Learning and Teaching (Secondary).

The University of Queensland

  • Undergraduate Minor
  • Available to: Science and Education students
  • UQ have implemented course structure changes to enable an education minor to be implemented in future.

img_quotation-marks-leftHaving alternative career pathways is important to me. I have gained the capacity to be a skilled lecturer, tutor or teacher in the future. The Science and Maths Minor gave me a deepened knowledge of the ways people learn and understand.”

QUT Bachelor of Engineering/Science and Mathematics Education Minor student, 2015

KEY UNIVERSITY CONTACTS

James Cook University: Professor Brian Lewthwaite, Dr Hilary Whitehouse, Dr Tanya Doyle

The University of Queensland: Professor Peter Adams, Professor Robyn Gillies