Addressing Beginning STEM Teachers' Needs to Teach in High-Need School Districts

Addressing Beginning STEM Teachers' Needs to Teach in High-Need School Districts

Anne Marie Seitsinger, Jay Fogleman, Kathy Peno, Cornelis de Groot
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1770-3.ch012
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Highly qualified teachers with strong STEM backgrounds are needed to teach children, particularly in high-need school districts. One university's teacher preparation program used a constructivist approach to build candidates' technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge to enhance their preparation to teach in classrooms where they are expected to utilize instructional technology effectively. Teacher preparation programs prepare candidates to a certain degree, however, beginning teachers continue to need support. This chapter reports on how prepared these new STEM teachers were to teach and the challenges they faced in high-need school districts. This chapter also discusses the instructional technology provided to these teachers from a federal grant to address some of these challenges. The chapter concludes that beginning STEM teachers benefit from induction supports that 1) provide university-based mentoring, 2) allow them to continue to use strategies and technologies they had access to during their teacher preparation program, and 3) continue to develop themselves as professionals.
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Teacher preparation programs prepare candidates to a certain degree, but beginning teachers continue to need support (Feuer, Floden, Chudowsky, & Ahn, 2013; Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). Induction and mentoring programs have been hailed as the panacea for further developing novice teachers’ skills (Darling-Hammond, 2010), but many focus on school culture and the business of the school rather than on teaching and learning (Hudson, 2012). Additionally, a disparity exists in the quality and availability of such programs (Hudson, 2013), especially in schools serving students from low-income families (Kardos & Johnson, 2010). However, teacher induction and mentoring programs that utilize best practices in teaching and learning support (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004; Ingersoll & Strong; 2011) may lead to teacher effectiveness and retention (Ingersoll, 2012; Ingersoll & Strong; 2011), but, as mentioned, may not be consistently available.

Key Terms in this Chapter

TPACK: An acronym for Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge.

Beginning Teacher: A licensed teacher with less than four years of experience.

STEM: An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

Induction: A period of time in a job, usually three years or less.

High-Need School District: A local education agency serving more than 50% of students from low-come families.

Mentoring: A formal process of support.

Tablet Computer: A portable, hand-held device.

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