Results from a first-year pilot found that pre-service elementary teachers who participated in the Teachers ’n Training (TNT) program felt a greater sense of self-efficacy and comfort about teaching STEM subjects and more positive science interests and attitudes.
The Teachers ’n Training (TNT) program is a collaborative series of immersion experiences and teaching opportunities for pre-service teachers designed to increase their ability, comfort level and competence to teach STEM concepts. Teacher candidates engage in meaningful experiences with STEM professionals who guide them in the development and implementation of inquiry-based STEM lessons in an informal setting.
Helping students achieve STEM literacy requires a sufficient supply of high-quality teachers. Many elementary teachers, however, lack sufficient science content knowledge, hold negative attitudes toward science and science teaching, and have low science teaching self-efficacies.
The Teachers ’n Training program aims to overcome these barriers. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville created a three-week summer program to provide pre-service, K–8 teachers with a STEM teaching experience in an informal learning environment. Pre-service teachers work with university staff and faculty to create and implement innovative STEM lessons.
In the first week of the program, pre-service teachers are introduced to science content used in the university’s summer camp, as well as research and best practices in STEM teaching and learning, with an emphasis on inquiry-based and problem-centered approaches. In week two, the pre-service teachers are paired with a cooperating camp teacher. They observe and assist with camp instruction and work with their cooperating teacher and TNT mentors to plan a lesson that is implemented and videotaped during week three. TNT mentors review the videotaped lesson with the pre-service teachers, discussing the successes and challenges. Pre-service teachers also assess their own areas of strengths and weaknesses, and develop a mini-portfolio that documents their lesson and the reasons for their instructional decisions.
The preliminary findings will be used to expand the program to include the university’s summer engineering camp and, possibly, include TNT as field experience for a science methods course. Ideally, the program could seed a new STEM elementary education certificate program.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education
The Boeing Company
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.