Effective collaboration among STEM teachers

  • Every curriculum has a “mission” or “vision” statement that describes why STEM subjects are important. These statements usually contain phrases like teaching STEM subjects will produce learners who are “good scientific/mathematical thinkers” (Tran, 2015). The assumption is that all STEM teachers understand these statements. According to Tran (2015), effective collaboration between STEM teachers can be achieved if they have a common purpose.

Read the article ‘If You Want Better Collaboration around STEM, Build Infrastructure’. What is your experience as a teacher or a student regarding effective collaboration among STEM teachers? You may use examples from courses you have participated in or from your teaching experience.

References

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1. Fostering interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the MYP. (2014, August 5). ib Middle Years Programme. http://www.sas-teach.com/resources/MYP/Interdisciplinaryteachingandlearning.pdf

  • Secondary education usefully organizes learning into disciplinary compartments (as a response to increasing specialization), an ever-changing world also demands education that empowers people to integrate disciplines in novel and creative ways. As knowledge and information multiply, critical thinkers must successfully integrate disciplinary perspectives to understand complex issues and ideas.

2. Kain, D. L. (1997). Critical incidents in teacher collaboration on interdisciplinary teams. Research in Middle-Level Education Quarterly, 21(1), 1–29. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10848959.1997.11670111?needAccess=true

  • This study utilized the critical incident technique to investigate the conditions that encourage and those that discourage such teacher collaboration. Following an explanation of the critical incident technique, this paper describes the conduct, analysis, and findings of teachers’ collaboration (Kain, 1997).

3. Tran. (2015). If you want better collaboration around STEM, build infrastructure. Download the document.

  • The structure for collaboration between STEM teachers already exists at most schools. The most recent Teachers Know Best survey suggests that upwards of 68 percent of teachers have dedicated collaboration time with peers. However, the same data suggests that this time is not well used, with only 7 percent of teachers reporting having strong collaborative structures in place (Tran, 2015).

Optional Video

1. Edutopia. (2015, August 26). Teacher collaboration: spreading best practices school-wide [Video]. YouTube. (3:26) https://youtu.be/85HUMHBXJf4

  • At Wildwood IB World Magnet School, teacher collaboration fosters a supportive professional culture, lessens teacher conflict, and provides students with school-wide best practices (Edutopia, 2015).

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