Early Childhood Teacher Beliefs About STEAM Education After a Professional Development Conference
The success of new pedagogies depends on teachers’ beliefs about what they entail, and the promises and challenges they hold. This study uses a mixed-methods approach to understand the beliefs of early childhood teachers who attended a professional development conference on STEAM teaching, an emerging approach that combine STEM disciplines and the arts through problem-based learning to engage students and push deep thinking. Data from a post-conference survey (N = 41) and follow-up interviews (N = 4) showed teachers varied in their beliefs about STEAM and the supports they needed to implement it successfully. Implications for teacher education are discussed.
KeywordsSTEM Beliefs Professional development Mixed methods
We would like to thank Aamena Saleh and Sangho Pang for their contributions this study. This research would not have be possible without their diligent data collection and management.
- Banchero, S. (2013). U.S. High-School Students Slip in Global Rankings. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved Dec 3, 2013, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304579404579234511824563116.
- Ceschini, J. (2014). STEM + art: A fruitful combination. Education Week, 34(13), 22–23.Google Scholar
- Chesloff, J. D. (2013). STEM Education must start in early childhood. Education Week, 32(23), 27–32.Google Scholar
- Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8 (3rd edn.). Washington, DC: NAEYC.Google Scholar
- Fetters, M. K., Czerniak, C. M., Fish, L., & Shawberry, J. (2002). Confronting, challenging, and changing teachers’ beliefs: Implications from a local systemic change professional development program. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(2), 101–130. doi: 10.1023/A:1015113613731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
- Hamre, B. K., Pianta, R. C., Burchinal, M., Field, S., Locasale-Crouch, J., Downer, J. T., Howes, C., LaParo, K., & Scott-Little, C. (2012). Supporting effective teacher-child interactions through coursework: Effects on teacher beliefs, knowledge, and observed practice. American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 88–123. doi: 10.3102/0002831211434596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Heimer, L., & Winokur, J. (2015). Preparing teachers of young children: How an interdisciplinary curriculum approach is understood, supported, and enacted among students and faculty. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 36(4), 289–308. doi: 10.1080/10901027.2015.1100144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Honey, M., Pearson, G., & Schweingruber, H. (2014). STEM integration in K-12 education: Status, prospects, and an agenda for research. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Retrieved from http://www.middleweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/STEM-Integration-in-K12-Education.pdf. Accessed 25 Feb 2016.
- Katz, L. (2010). STEM in the early years. SEED Paper for Early Childhood Research and Practice, 3(1), 1–3.Google Scholar
- Labaree, D. F. (2014). Let’s measure what no one teaches: PISA, NCLB, and the shrinking aims of education. Teachers College Record, 116(9), 1–14.Google Scholar
- Linder, S. M. (2011). The facilitator’s role in elementary mathematics professional development. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13(2), 44–66.Google Scholar
- Maher, P. A., Bailey, J. M., Etheridge, D. A., & Warby, D. B. (2013). Preservice teachers’ beliefs and confidence after working with STEM faculty mentors: An exploratory study. Teacher Education and Practive, 26(2), 266–284.Google Scholar
- Meisels, S. J. (2006). Accountability in early childhood: No easy answers (Occasional Paper No. 6). Chicago, IL: Herr Research Center for Children & Social Policy, Erikson Institute.Google Scholar
- Noddings, N. (2005). What does it mean to educate the whole child? In a democratic society, schools must go beyond teaching fundamental skills. Educational Leadership, 63(1), 8–13.Google Scholar
- Paulhus, D. L. (2002). Socially desirable responding: The evolution of a construct. In H. I. Braun, D. N. Jackson & D. E. Wiley (Eds.), The role of constructs in psychological and educational measurement (pp. 49–69). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Rich, E. (2010). How do you define 21st-century learning? Education Week, 4(1), 32–35.Google Scholar
- Sharapan, H. (2012). From STEM to STEAM: How early childhood educators can apply Fred Rogers’ approach. Young Children, 67(1), 36–40.Google Scholar
- Taubman, P. (2000). Teaching without hope: What is really at stake in the standards movement, high stakes testing, and the drive for “practical reforms. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 16(3), 19–33.Google Scholar
- Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. New York, NY: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Wang, H., Moore, T. J., Roehrig, G. H., & Park, M. S. (2011). STEM integration: Teacher perceptions and practice. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 1(2), 1–13.Google Scholar
- Watters, J. J., Diezmann, C. M., Grieshaber, S. J., & Davis, J. M. (2000). Enhancing science education for young children: A contemporary initiative. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 26(2), 1–7.Google Scholar