NC Space Grant
Research Engaged Strategies in Teacher Education Programs to Improve STEM (RESTEP to STEM)
Opportunities for Teachers and Schools
The NCSG Research Engaged Strategies in Teacher Education Programs to improve STEM (RESTEP to STEM) will facilitate opportunities in which pre-service teachers will build on and add to the current research, knowledge and curriculum that address and align with current NASA education themes and missions.
We are looking for schools that are interested in collaborating in this initiative by allowing our pre-service teachers to interact with k-12 students, collect educational data, and engage in mentoring partnerships with experienced k-12 educators. The objectives of this effort are:
- to accelerate the opportunities of undergraduate and graduate students to engage in educational research in STEM education.
- to promote science education in the k-12 classroom, focusing on the development of improving pre-college perceptions, understanding and interests in science.
- to promote science education in the k-12 classroom focusing on the development of improving pre-college interests in pursuit of science education and science careers.
- to assist in the preparation of teachers entering into the k-12 science classrooms.
In serving as supporting partners, schools that participate will have an opportunity to help shape the teachers that will someday serve your community. You will have an opportunity to identify and guide strong, effective, and promising pre-service teachers while encouraging opportunities for your experienced teachers to learn about effective teaching practices and to develop leadership in education. As a partner you are agreeing to work as mentors with our pre-service teachers on a project that will examine student knowledge and effective teaching strategies. Projects may include collecting student information such as age and gender, and possibly involve student interviews. We will follow the appropriate protocol for human subjects and will train our pre-service teachers to do the same. These projects will serve as a research component for our pre-service teachers who have been awarded a scholarship to participate in the program. It will not distract or interfere in classroom instruction; but will support and improve science learning.
An emphasis has been placed on improving STEM education across the country, with a large focus on improving the teachers entering into the STEM education field. Although there have been some gains in our education programs, the National Science Board reported that in 2008 most of our students continue to fall below performance levels considered proficient for their grade, and below the average when compared to industrialized countries. In addition, a report published by the American Institute of Physics in July, 2011, identified North Carolina as one of 11 states that fell below the average in the US in math, science and teacher qualifications in math and science. We believe that by developing stronger partnerships between schools, pre-service teachers and scientists, and by providing opportunities for educators to learn about effective teaching strategies, that we will improve and better prepare our teachers; thereby impacting STEM education in our state. As leaders of our education system, your support is imperative in meeting these goals.