Are there inadequate teacher resources for science?
Inadequate Teacher Resources for Science Holds Back Adoption of Student-Centered Learning Practices
A recent study on STEM education in North American undergraduate programs commented on inadequate teacher resources for science. It noted that much learning is still focused on lectures (55%). Another 27% feature more interactive lectures (involving some group work and responding to multiple choice questions with handheld clickers). Finally, 18% were based on student centered learning where the heavy focus is on group work and discussions.
Based on past research we have understood that the lecturing style is among the least effective for teaching and engaging students.
Student-centered strategies improve students’ learning and attitudes toward science says the study’s lead author. They not only understand it better, but they also appreciate science more. They’re not as scared of it, and they engage more easily with it.
However, switching from lectures to the more highly thought of student centered learning is difficult because of many factors including
- Class sizes and layouts
- Lack of training for teachers on different methods
So, we need to pay attention to structural impediments to our STEM education success and we should be very clear that professional development of teachers is an ongoing need worthy of investment.
Inadequate teacher resources for science supplemented on average $450 out of pocket for lab materials
This study found that while the average outlay for middle and high school science teachers was $450, this was higher in urban and rural areas. Better teacher resources appeared to be available in suburban areas.
This study found that teachers received the following sums for science:
- Urban: $242.47
- Suburban: $604.90
- Rural: $462.93
Only 30% of teachers who responded to the survey reported having adequate financial resources for science. In fact, 94.6% of science teachers reported paying out of pocket for additional lab materials.