Moving Toward Transdisciplinary Instruction: A Longitudinal Examination of STEAM Teaching Practices

  • Cassie F. QuigleyEmail author
  • Dani Herro
  • Abigail Baker


For years, the STEAM movement has been touted by businesses, universities, and even governments as a way to move beyond focusing on single disciplines such as science but instead toward multiple modes of problem-solving and viewpoints (Connor AM, Karmokar S, Whittington C. International Journal of Engineering Pedagog 5(2):37–47, 2015). However, STEAM education in the K-12 setting is still relatively new, which has led to a limited conceptual understanding of how to conceptualize, design, or enact STEAM education (Kim & Park, The effect of STEAM education on elementary school student’s creativity improvement. In Kim T, Stoica A, Fang W, Vasilakos T, Villalba J, Arnett K,… Kang B (eds), Computer applications for security, control and system engineering. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 115–121., 2012). This limited understanding often leads teachers to use existing STEM models and attempt to “add-on” experiences with the arts or humanities (Henriksen D, DeSchryver M, Mishra P, Deep-Play Research Group, TechTrends 59:5, 2015). In response, the authors have spent the last 3 years conducting a longitudinal study exploring how STEAM teaching practices are enacted in a variety of settings in the southeast of the United States in order to understand teachers’ implementation strategies (Herro D, Quigley C, Prof Dev Educ, 1–23, 2016a, On the Horizon 24:190–204, 2016b; Quigley C, Herro D, J Sci Educ Technol 25:410–426, 2016; Quigley, Herro, & Jamil. 2017). Based on a qualitative study examining classroom observations, teachers’ reflective journals during STEAM implementation, and focus-group teacher interviews, this chapter will highlight vignettes of these classrooms including elementary and secondary school examples as well as discipline-focused STEAM examples. The goal of this chapter is to inform teacher educators and provide support to teachers who are attempting to implement this transdisciplinary approach to learning.


STEAM Teacher education Elementary Secondary Transdisciplinary Social practice theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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