In the last decade, employment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields has grown faster than non-STEM careers according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration. Furthermore, a Brookings Institute report has found that about 20 percent of all jobs require knowledge in at least one STEM subject and that these fields drive economic growth.
In "Bringing Real-World Science to the Classroom," Vince Bertram and John W. McDonald say that two-thirds of U.S. high school students lack interest in math and science. On top of that, students' achievement scores are lower than those of students in competing countries. So what will it take to increase interest in STEM subjects?
"Part of the solution involves changing the classroom experience," Bertram and McDonald write. "Curriculum must go beyond the textbook. Hands-on projects and trial-and-error processes effectively bridge theory and practice and bring STEM subjects alive."
To get students excited about science, the ThoughtCo. article "What to Do When Students Lack Interest" recommends these research-based methods:
- Create a welcoming environment.
- Allow students to make choices to give them ownership.
- Connect learning to life outside of school.
- Solve real-world problems early in the learning process.
- Provide clear, accurate learning objectives.
- Build connections across multiple curricula.
- Incorporate hands-on learning and supporting materials.
Good teachers know how to implement some of these basic recommendations. However, some methods require more in-depth study and practice. Teachers can gain both by enrolling in a professional development program or a master's degree program.
How to Become a More Knowledgeable Science Teacher
Science teachers who want to share their love of science with students can enhance the classroom experience by learning the latest best practices on how to develop curricula that bring science to life and nurture student interest in science.
Science teachers who want to start making changes now can follow advice from Bill Nye the Science Guy who says to show your passion. Nye says if a tie-dye lab coat is your thing, wear it. Let your personality come out and students will become more engaged.
That is what programs like Southeastern Oklahoma State University's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction -- Science aim to do.
The SOSU program is designed to help students in three areas:
- Become a content expert on science in the classroom.
- Implement curricula to spur student interest in science.
- Develop standards-based assessments to evaluate progress.
This 30-credit hour program consists of 18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of science specialty courses that cover biological, physical and earth sciences. The core courses delve into teaching strategies, technology infusion for building transformational environments, school law, philosophy, and education research.
Because the program is 100 percent online, teachers have the flexibility to move at their own pace. They will also have the benefit of applying what they learn in their classrooms immediately. Students can complete this accredited, fast-paced program in as few as 12 months.
Sources:ThoughtCo.: What to Do When Students Lack Interest
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