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Graduate survey of science, ICT and mathematics teaching

Project Title

Graduate Survey of Science, ICT and Mathematics Teaching

Project Coordinator

Dr Sandra Frid

Period

2006

Funding Agency SiMERR WA

Background

Recent state and national initiatives emphasise science, ICT and mathematics as curriculum priorities. At the same time, an issue of concern is the attraction and retention of people to the teaching profession, particularly in non-metropolitan areas. Effective pre-service education is one of the keys to attracting and retaining teachers, yet relatively little data is available as to the real-world experiences of recent graduates and how well their pre-service education prepared them to embark on a teaching career.

Description

This project gathered written survey and interview data from recent graduates (2002-2005) of Curtin's Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) programs. An aim of the project was to identify the graduates' post pre-service experiences in order to investigate how effective their pre-service education was in preparing them to teach. Factors examined by the study included: employment demographics, teaching practices in mathematics, ICT and science, and graduates' professional development needs in mathematics, ICT and science. The findings revealed some unexpected results. The participants' responses indicated that, contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to 'go country' to obtain fulltime employment upon graduation, and it is not necessarily the younger graduates who take up teaching positions in non-metropolitan schools. The study also found that both non-metropolitan and metropolitan employment positions commonly lead to changing locations and/or jobs. Perhaps less surprisingly, the findings revealed that science was receiving relatively little attention within school curricula, and a lack of appropriate resources impacted upon teaching, particularly for ICT and science. Teachers had received little or no professional development in science, and resources and personalised professional development and support were seen as being crucial to efforts aimed at enhancing science, ICT and mathematics teaching.

Benefits to Rural and Regional Education

The project findings, although not conclusive because of the relatively small sample size, raise several important considerations for those involved in the delivery of pre-service education:

  • Novice early childhood and primary teachers are well-prepared and able to implement 'best practice' mathematics and ICT curricula, while their capacities and the resources available to them in science are more limited;
  • The unique personal and professional capacities of 'older' graduates have a potential to play a role in formulating successful efforts to attract and retain teachers to rural and remote locations;
  • To support novice teachers, metropolitan as well as non-metropolitan, it is necessary to support development of personal and professional capacities to be flexible and adaptable with living location, school context and student cohort, and year levels taught.

Contact Dr Sandra Frid

 

 

 

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