Teacher Perceptions of STEM Curriculum Integration and Application: A Qualitative Study
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education reforms have steadily increased since the 1980s. Legislators, education policymakers, and corporate leaders have shifted the focus to demand the production of increased numbers of STEM-literate graduates. The problem is a lack of consensus on the definition of STEM education, which contributes to the absence of an integrated and consistent STEM curriculum in U.S. public schools. A gap exists in literature regarding the perceptions of teachers and administrators related to STEM education in Georgia public schools. The study explored teacher perceptions of STEM education and a cohesive integrated curriculum. Constructivist learning theory and social cognitive learning theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. Key research questions explored administrator and teacher perceptions regarding uniform STEM curriculum as well as perceived obstacles to implementing STEM curriculum changes in Georgia public schools. Through a basic qualitative methodology, 16 teacher participants and three administrator participants were surveyed. All participants were current teachers or administrators at a STEM-certified and top-ranked Georgia high school. Questionnaire responses and document analysis results were coded using an inductive thematic analysis framework. Results indicated teachers and administrators held a predominantly positive view of STEM education, yet attempts to define and conceptualize STEM were basic and incongruous. Teachers also indicated a need for additional professional development to improve feelings of efficacy implementing STEM initiatives.
STEM Education, STEM Perceptions, integrated STEM, STEM Curriculum, basic qualitative