STEM Curriculum Implementation: Impact on Girls’ STEM Attitudes and Aspirations
Assoc. Prof. Judy Anderson, Director STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy, the University of Sydney, Australia
Established in 2014, and the first of its kind in Australia, the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy offered through the University of Sydney brings together teams of science, mathematics, and technology teachers from selected high schools and generalist teachers from primary schools for a five-day program to support and enhance teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge in the development of interdisciplinary units and projects in STEM. The main aim of the Academy is to improve student attitudes and aspirations in STEM, particularly for those underrepresented in STEM university programs and in STEM careers, through increasing teacher capacity in the development of STEM curriculum specific to each school’s context. During the program, school teams engage in a year-long mentorship relationship with university staff to support the development of their school-based STEM initiatives. This presentation focuses on the development and impact of STEM programs in a small sample of all-girls high schools, coeducation high schools, and coeducational primary schools. The findings are based on case-study design research using units of analysis of school demographics, school leadership, teachers, students, and STEM curriculum, and presents key characteristics with potential to establish a STEM culture centred upon growth and success for young women in STEM.
The Impact of Guaranteed Quota for Female Students in Advanced STEM Studies
Prof. I-Jy Chang, National Taiwan Normal University
Due to the low participation of the female students in STEM studies in high school level, many advanced STEM programs provide guaranteed quota for female students in the last decade in Taiwan. These advanced programs include the selection for delegation for various International Olympiad competition such as Math, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Earth Science and Information and special Science classes that offers accelerated STEM education. Guaranteed quota definitely promoted the participation. The application from female students increased more than 10%. Interestingly, many admitted female students had test score so high that they would be admitted without the Guaranteed quota. Yet, without the guaranteed quota, they don’t bother to apply. The performance of these female students were followed for the entire duration of the program. The results were mixed. Many students showed dramatic progresses, but some didn’t perform well. Detail analysis is ongoing and will be discussed.
Addressing the Gender Gap in STEM: Lessons from International Research
Prof. Merrilyn Goos, Director of EPI*STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education, University of Limerick, Ireland
It is common to define the “gender gap” in the STEM disciplines in terms of participation and performance in education and careers. However, it is also important to be aware of other, more subtle, gender-based differences in the perceptions, experiences and aspirations of females in the STEM domains. There are many factors that can explain females’ disadvantage in STEM. Moreover, these factors operate at multiple levels – individual, family, school, and society – and they interact in complex ways. From 2017-2019 the International Science Council funded a research project investigating the gender gap in STEM. The aim of the project was to collect and analyse data on the gender gap and to create a database of good practices for encouraging girls and young women to study and pursue education and careers in the mathematical, computing, and natural sciences. In this presentation, I will draw on my work in the Gender Gap in STEM project and other recent research to explain the nature of the gender gap problem and effective approaches to addressing it. I will give examples of initiatives that teachers and schools can take to help address the gender gap problem, while also the need to change STEM education structures, practices and the representation of STEM in wider society, that create barriers to gender-balanced participation and positive experiences for females.
Do Scientists and Engineers Perceive Gender Barriers in STEM?
Prof. Jung Sun Kim, Vice President of Dongseo University, Korea
Gender gap in STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) has persisted throughout the world leading to underrepresentation of women in science and engineering related fields. Korea has been no exception where fully trained and able women in STEM have faced barriers from the entry level of their career opportunities. Although Korea is top ranked among OECD countries in secondary and tertiary education and even though there has been a marked increase in university enrollment of girls in science and engineering fields, the percentage of women in these workforce still remain low. The obstacles may be related to male-dominant culture, stereotypes, and personal and professional life conflicts. However, considering the nature of science and engineering being objective and neutral, would these also apply in STEM fields? Unfortunately, studies have carefully revealed that despite the rationality expected among scientific activities, gender biases do exist. They were a reminder that the environment surrounding the scientists or engineers were not gender barrier proof. Results of a recent international collaborative study among members of the INWES (International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists) Asia and Pacific Nations regional network has shown that women and men perceive gender barriers differently, regardless of age. The implications of these results will be outlined within the framework of gender mainstreaming.
Supporting All Learners to Use Knowledge to Make Sense of the World
Prof. Joseph Krajcik, Director of the CREATE for STEM Institute, Michigan State University, USA
How can we support all learners regardless of race, social economic status, and gender to develop usable knowledge of science and social and emotional learning? The need for today’s youth to develop an understanding of scientific ideas and science practices is unquestionably more crucial than at any other period in modern history. The rising demand for learners to use their knowledge to make sense of phenomena and solve complex problems falls only a few years after the global scientific and policy communities raised serious concerns for reforming traditional science learning and instruction. In this presentation, I will present a model for designing teacher and student materials and associated professional learning to support all learners in developing useable knowledge. Anchored in what is known to promote learning and the principles of project-based learning with its focus on having students investigate questions that they find meaningful and that are also aligned with critical academic and social and emotional learning goals, our curriculum materials and professional learning have transformed classrooms to places where students work together to generate knowledge and solve meaningful problems. I will share the results of two recently completed randomized clustered efficacy studies, one at the high school level and one at the elementary level, that present convincing evidence of the value of engaging all learners in the doing of science. What is particularly noteworthy is that main effects for these two efficacy studies hold for students of differing reading abilities, gender, and school level race, ethnicity, and SES.
Gender Inclusivity in STEM Education: Implications for Curriculum and Teacher Education
Assoc. Prof. Tang Wee TEO, Co-Head, Multi-centric Education, Research and Industry STEM Centre, National Institute of Education, Singapore
There have been widespread efforts to promote gender equity across diverse sectors including the workplace and education. The United Nations has made gender equality the fifth sustainable development goal. More recently, the UN has underscored the increasing real and potential risks of violence against women and girls with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This underscores the necessity of continuous efforts to advocate for greater gender inclusivity in education. STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is not a panacea to all the challenges that women confront, but it can afford opportunities for some of these challenges to be addressed. In my talk, I shed light on some nuanced insights drawn from several studies that I have done in the U.S. and Singapore to shed insights on possible reasons why women or girls may not want to pursue a STEM career or stay in the STEM fraternity. Specifically, I will discuss my findings from a case study of a minority woman in STEM in the U.S., and an evaluation study of a STEM programme for girls in Singapore. I reflect on the work that I have done over the past decade to suggest recommendations for curriculum design and teacher education that promote greater gender inclusivity in STEM education.
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