EDU649 Week 1 Reflection
The first chapter of A Practice-based Model of STEM Teaching gives a brief summary of the history of STEM education initiatives. I found this informative as it gives a context to the when and why of why engineering education has emerged, however it interestingly never mentions the phrase “industrial arts” which is part of technology education in New Jersey. In particular I found STEM eds emergence from post WWII America(pg. 11) fascinating as many of the fabrication technologies we utilize are from the same timeframe. The text clearly defines STEM literacy by contextualizing literacy as proficiency in skills to communicate, use knowledge, and create in various disciplines or jobs(pg. 11). The text stresses that student centered or project based learning should be executed in technology classes, and it must be supported. Educators must continuously reflect on their practice both individually and with peers, as they may revert back to traditional instruction even if inquiry-based instruction is a target.
The second part of my reading for the week focused on Achievement Gaps, and how they have defined an emphasis on math literacy in students. Generally, there has been a focus on content areas as federal government focuses on test scores as evidenced by President G.W.B’s No Child Left Behind(p 18). However, the text stresses that educators cannot just push content on students, but must work on connecting with their students and their own cultural sensitivity. Along with cultural sensitivity educators must consider gender as they practice and introduce students to various content. The text mentions various project based learning educational frameworks that show hope in addressing the needs of students, educators, and other stakeholders. The text informing me about how STEM education came to be will be useful in giving students a background narrative on how Technology classes came to be. In particular, I am excited to be able to draw a parallel between the history of the tools we use, and why it’s always been important students are learning about them. I think that the focus on the genesis of Technology education also informs my practice and why working to reach students of various genders and races is important to our local and greater communities.
Another push for this year that I have derived from the text is the need to continue reflecting on my practice. I plan on utilizing my newly created PLC within my school to do so, and will push myself to utilize my instructional coach this year. With these two community resources I can reflect on my practice and making the project work we do student centered. In particular I want to focus on making sure that the project based [student centered] instruction is not reverting to traditional instruction, and that my lesson planning and implementation reflect that.
While doing this reflection I also need to understand what skills, knowledge, and communicative practices will benefit my students in their academic career and as part of a not-so-distant future workforce. This is something that I can work on within my department, inquire about within my own professional network, chat online via social media about, and potentially research as part of my thesis work.