An Analysis of Cultural Influences on STEM Schools: Similarities and Differences Across K-12 Contexts
Despite the increasing number of inclusive STEM schools, little is known about the cultural dimensions that influence STEM curriculum and instruction within these schools. This paper describes research conducted at three inclusive STEM schools, one each at the elementary, middle, and high school level. We explored similarities and differences in cultural dimensions across the schools with specific attention to how these differentially influence teachers’ perceptions and enactment of STEM curriculum and instruction across the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Our cross-case analysis revealed structural aspects (school vision, community partnerships, course scheduling, and testing pressures) as well as professional orientations (i.e., instructional practices, interdisciplinary collaboration, and teacher content knowledge) that appear particularly important to student learning experiences at each grade level. Navigating these factors of STEM school culture requires teachers to not only be knowledgeable but also to draw on a professional orientation that encourages collaboration and risk-taking. We discuss implications for teacher education and STEM school development.
KeywordsSTEM education STEM schools Teacher education School culture
- Bruce-Davis, M. N., Gubbins, E. J., Gilson, C. M., Villanueva, M., Foreman, J. L., & Rubenstein, L. D. (2014). STEM high school administrators’, teachers’, and students’ perceptions of curricular and instructional strategies and practices. Journal of Advanced Academics, 25(3), 272–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Buck Institute (n.d.). What is project-based learning (PBL)?. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://bie.org/about/what_pbl.
- Epstein, D., & Miller, R. T. (2011). Slow off the mark: Elementary school teachers and the crisis in science, technology, engineering, and math education. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
- Erdogan, N., & Stuessy, C. L. (2015). Modeling successful STEM high schools in the United States: An ecology framework. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 3(1), 77–92.Google Scholar
- Forman, J., Gubbins, E. J., Villanueva, M., Massicotte, C., Callahan, C., & Tofel-Grehl, C. (2015). National Survey of STEM high schools’ curricular and instructional strategies and practices. NCSSS Journal, 20(1), 8–19.Google Scholar
- Herro, D., & Quigley, C. (2016). Exploring teachers’ perceptions of STEAM teaching through professional development: Implications for teacher educators. Professional Development in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2016.1205507.
- Honey, M., Pearson, G., & Schweingruber, H. (Eds.). (2014). STEM integration in K-12 education: Status, prospects, and an agenda for research. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Koehler, C., Binns, I. C., & Bloom, M. A. (2015). The emergence of STEM. In C. C. Johnson, E. E. Peters-Burton, T. J. Moore, C. C. Johnson, E. E. Peters-Burton, & T. J. Moore (Eds.), STEM Road Map: A framework for integrated STEM education (pp. 13–22). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- LaForce, M., Noble, E., King, H., Century, J., Blackwell, C., Holt, S., . . . Loo, S. (2016). The eight essential elements of inclusive STEM high schools. International Journal of STEM Education, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-016-0054-z.
- Lesseig, K., Holmlund Nelson, T., Slavit, D., & Siedel, R. (2016). Supporting middle school teachers’ implementation of STEM design challenges. School Science and Mathematics, 116(4), 177–188.Google Scholar
- Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: A sourcebook. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Morrison, J., Roth McDuffie, A., & French, B. (2015). Identifying key components of teaching and learning in a STEM school. School Science and Mathematics , 115(5), 244–255.Google Scholar
- Nadelson, L. S., Seifert, A., Moll, A. J., & Coats, B. (2012). i-STEM summer institute: An integrated approach to teacher professional development in STEM. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 13(2), 69–83.Google Scholar
- Nadelson, L. S., & Seifert, A. L. (2016). Putting the pieces together: A model K–12 teachers’ educational innovation implementation behaviors. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 9(1), 47–67.Google Scholar
- National Governors Association. (2010). Common core state standards initiative, mathematics. Washington, D.C.: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2011). Successful K-12 STEM education: Identifying effective approaches in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2013). Monitoring progress toward successful K-12 STEM education: A nation advancing? Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2013). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved June 4, 2013, 2013, from http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework.
- Roth McDuffie, A. R., & Morrison, J. A. (2008). Learning about data display: Connecting mathematics and science inquiry. Teaching Children Mathematics , 14(6), 375–382.Google Scholar
- Slavit, D., Holmlund Nelson, T., & Lesseig, K. (2016). The teachers’ role in developing, opening and nurturing an inclusive STEM-focused school. International Journal of STEM Education, 3(7). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-016-0040-5.
- Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Young, V., House, A., Wang, H., Singleton, C. & Klopfenstein, K. (2011). Inclusive STEM schools: Early promise in Texas and unanswered questions. Retrieved from http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BOSE/DBASSE_071087.