STEM: What should be taught in school?

Dawne Bell, David Wooff, Michela Insenga

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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Situated within the wider social and economic context, where globally STEM disciplines are considered fundamental or countries' competitiveness, this study seeks to understand how to best teach STEM in school, in order to motivate and attract students to choose and persist in STEM careers. As female participation in Higher Education exceeds that of men in several parts of the world, women remain an untapped resource for science and innovation (OECD, 2006:18). A great deal of what should be taught in school in relation to STEM has been the focus of many debates, but little research has been done in this regard. This study aims to investigate the role of education in engaging students (with a comparison between male and female students) in STEM subjects in the classroom. What is the role of education, how can we motivate students to embark and remain in a scientific career field? 1. Relevance Following a brief outline of the emergence of STEM, and STEM education, set within the United Kingdom (UK), this work moves seeks to present to preliminary findings which seek to explore, from the perception of colleagues working within STEM careers, increasing participation of people - with a focus on improving the gender balance and social inclusion. 2. Aims & Objectives This work presents preliminary findings from the early stages of a larger research project, the aim of which is to provide a basis for educators to help understanding how to best STEM subjects in school should be taught. Particular focus is given to the engagement of unconscious classroom bias, with the intention to explore perceptions around the engagement and motivation around social justice, inclusion and gender. 3. Methods Constructivist grounded theory is the adopted research method, and empirically grounded data is used to elicit stakeholder viewpoints, and emergent findings are discussed in relation to the impact STEM education in school had on their choices and subsequent career trajectories, and also in terms of current curriculum and its potential to help ensure the emergence of a STEM-literate society. 4. Results Early findings from this study would suggest that participants believe that access to a stimulating, high quality STEM education experience is essential in order to foster an appetite for future study within children. 5. Conclusions In conclusion findings emergent from this initial research phase indicate that in order to support the development of STEM literate society, from which an increased number of STEM graduates may emerge improved STEM education is required.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015
EventGender Summit 7 Europe 2015 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 6 Nov 20157 Nov 2015


ConferenceGender Summit 7 Europe 2015


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