Texas College Students
Texas College Students
Texas College Students

TeachingSTEM.net

     

Welcome to Teaching STEM!

An Online Resource for Instructors and Their Students at Institutions of Higher Education

 

The Problem of Student Under-prepardness in STEM Subjects

Characteristics of Under-prepared Students

How STEM Faculty at Institutions of Higher Ed Are Managing Student Under-preparedness: Voice of Experience

How Under-prepared Students Are Negotiating Core STEM Requirements: Students Speak

Resources That Can Help

Announcements

Sources Of Funding To Support Greater STEM Preparedness

                                                                                                                                                                                                         

We love science, technology, engineering, and mathematics….Don’t ask us why! It was always like that...As a small child, we both remember multiple occasions when our innate curiosity regarding how and why electronics work led to our disassembling valued “brown” appliances. We also still share a bit of scar tissue from teachers responding with annoyance as we bombarded them with inquiries stemming from our fanciful minds interacting with the text-based knowledge.

But, we, like those of you who are now residents of this world of college and university STEM professors, had an organic affinity for STEM subjects that needed little external nurturing to grow and thrive. And so, a process of natural selection occurred that directed us to embrace STEM subject matter with and/or without external support from teachers, parents, mentors, or cross-age peers.

However, this process of the self-generation of a STEM workforce is no longer sufficient and the reasons are now well-known. At the first level, STEM knowledge in workforce participants plays a critical role in accelerating economic growth thereby assisting the United States in maintaining its economic leadership. At the second level, STEM knowledge advantages the worker by decreasing their vulnerability to unemployment, and elevating lifetime earnings.

But, both the national economy and individual workers will benefit by the expansion of STEM knowledge beyond those who have a natural affinity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To facilitate this process of inclusion, a form of academic engineering must be applied that will result in: 1) increased interest in STEM subject matter; 2) reinforcement of the knowledge that STEM subject matter can be learned by any person who can read and/or can learn to read; 3) improved achievement in STEM courses; 4) the use of educational pedagogies that can quickly remediate STEM subject matter under preparedness in freshmen and sophomore students; 5) the greater inclusion of mid-range academic performers among STEM majors; and 6) epiphanous STEM experiences among STEM majors that trigger the desire for the advanced STEM learning that accompanies enrollment in and the successful navigation of graduate school.

But, two truths that all academicians know if we engage in self-honesty is that: 1) a majority of students who enter our freshman classes each year are underprepared for college-level STEM coursework; 2) we as their professors, don’t really know how to address these circumstances; and 3) we, as their professors, have never been trained to teach at all and, as a result, are only prepared to teach students who, like us, have a natural affinity for STEM subject matter.

In this regard, this Resource Site was developed as a community of practice that will allow STEM professors nationwide to share the challenges and the successes we have experienced not in teaching STEM in general, but in teaching STEM to underprepared students. This site was established to allow us to communicate informally by posting videos and blogs regarding our experiences, and formally by submitting articles to the new e-Journal, Teaching STEM to Under-Prepared Students for review by various panels of our peers.We urge you to share with us and others.

We encourage you to inform your students about this site and to encourage them to post their well-generated videos and blogs. Through this effort, we hope to make our own unique contribution to our country’s ability to continue its growth trajectory.

Christopher Sparrow, Ph.D.,

Project Director, HANDS-ON and Asst. Prof. of Chemistry,

TEXAS COLLEGE

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