October 19

Hard To Recruit Good Math And Science Teachers

Hard To Recruit Good Math And Science Teachers

It is well-known that student achievement and participation in science and math are not good. Not only is Australia facing problems with a shortage of science and math teachers, but they are also affecting international students. This situation is cause by a number of interrelate factors.

Insufficient Confidence Math

Primary teachers often report that they lack confidence and competence in teaching science and maths. They may not have taken higher level subjects in secondary school, or not having studied science and maths at senior levels

Negative Math Attitudes

These students may develop negative attitudes or mindsets about their abilities in these subjects as primary school students. Experiences of struggle and failure, especially in maths can be powerful indicators of future achievement and engagement. They also act as barriers to learning. Students may see their potential and even their identity as fixed.

On international measures of science and math achievement, primary students in Australia perform less than secondary students. There is a general trend of decline.

Educated Science And Math Teachers Are Not Available

About one-third of Australian Year Nine students are being taught mathematics and one-quarter are being instruct in science by an outside-of-field teacher. This is true for government schools, schools with low socio-economic status (SES), and schools in remote and regional areas.

Some schools meet all of these requirements. Many students won’t have the opportunity to meet a science or math teacher until their final years of secondary school. This is a shameful situation that has been around for a while.

Participation at the senior secondary level in science and maths is decreasing. Participation in undergraduate science and math courses is also decreasing; some departments of mathematics are shrinking or closing.

Secondary teacher education candidates are in short supply in science and maths (particularly physics and chemical). Because of their backgrounds, mindsets, and attitudes toward science and math, some initial teacher education (ITE), primary candidates may struggle with these subjects.

What Are The Most Common Responses?

The usual response to these situations is to provide ITE and practicing teachers with more content knowledge, pedagogical strategies, and produce units of work and resources. These strategies and resources often emphasize hands-on approaches to science and math in the hopes that this will increase student engagement and improve the effectiveness of teachers.

These teacher-proof resources may prove counterproductive if teachers aren’t confident in their ability to use them. A second approach is to offer scholarships to attract more science and maths teachers. These teachers are often paid higher salaries, but this is not a common practice in the public sector. None of these methods get to the root of the problem.

What Are The Things We Should Change?

While additional training and resources may be helpful in treating symptoms, we must address the root causes. Primary schooling must be a place where students and teachers can influence their thinking and mindsets. Both must engage with real-world science and math in the same way that scientists and mathematicians are involved with solving current problems.

It is important to make the thinking behind problem solving visible. Practice, identity, and attitudes are far more important than content in this regard.

This requires ITE candidates have exposure to scientists and scientific thought to be able to learn math and science. It is important that they overcome any doubts or fears they have about their abilities and ability to teach these subjects. They must be motivated to learn and engage, not just teach what they find difficult.

Academics and ITE candidates must engage with science and mathematics faculties and research centres in order to achieve this education. These faculties must engage in outreach activities, such as “scientists at schools”.

Current And Relevant Math

Science and math must seen as current and relevant. They should not be archive in a text, or on the internet where we already have the answers. Undergraduate science and math students should expose to teaching as a rewarding career. There is a strong argument that primary teachers should have the necessary training and background to teach science and maths in schools.

If they want to be successful in science and maths in secondary school, primary students must first succeed in understanding and performing science. These are the key elements of the ReMSTEP project (Reconceptualising Maths Teacher Education Programs through collaboration partnerships between scientists, educators) being conduct at Monash, Deakin, Monash and La Trobe universities. This is part of the national Enhancing Pre-service Science and Math Teachers project.

These programs aim to change the mindset of students and teachers of science and math in primary and secondary schools. They explore multiple models that engage ITE candidates in a range of learning and professional practices.

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Posted October 19, 2021 by admin in category "Uncategorized