Influence of Professional Learning on Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy in Teaching with an Integrated STEM Approach

D Ty Arendall, Thomas Casteel, Brad Lewis, Jodi Newton, Leslie s Ennis, Karen J Birkenfeld


The purpose of the qualitative study was to determine the influence of key features of professional learning on teacher efficacy/attitudes towards Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction. The study utilized a purposeful sampling of elementary teachers with a minimum of three years of experience in teaching STEM. The seven teachers selected for the study were from three school districts recognized for strong STEM programs, and they were identified by gatekeepers in those districts as highly confident and effective teachers of STEM. Rather than seeking to identify specific professional development models, the researchers sought a broader understanding of professional learning –specifically seeking to identify learning features that contributed to teacher self-efficacy in STEM. Data collected from structured interviews were analyzed using qualitative methods to answer research questions and determine a grounded theory. The data suggest that the following aspects of professional learning enhanced participants’ self-efficacy to teach STEM: a) student focus, b) STEM learning continuum, c) networking, d) expertise, and e) culture. In addition, the researchers determined that the five core features of teacher professional learning first described by Desimone (2009) were present in the data: a) content focus, b) active learning, c) coherence, d) duration, e) collective participation. The researchers conclude by offering practical recommendations for educators seeking to implement STEM, as well as suggestions for future research studies.

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Copyright (c) 2018 D Ty Arendall, Thomas Casteel, Brad Lewis, Jodi Newton, Leslie s Ennis, Karen J Birkenfeld

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International Journal of Education ISSN 1948-5476


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