Source: National Science Teachers Association
With the support of the National Science Foundation and in collaboration with WestEd, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) has released “STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: From Good Teachers to Great Teaching.” NCTAF and WestEd conducted a two-year analysis of research studies that document what happens when science, technology, engineering, and math teachers work together in professional learning communities to improve teaching and increase student achievement. This report summarizes that work and provides examples of projects building on that model.
According to the report, participating in learning teams can successfully engage STEM teachers in discussions about the mathematics and science that they teach. This seemingly basic finding is more important than it may appear. While it is considered a professional trait to continuously seek more knowledge, in reality it can actually be threatening for professionals even to acknowledge that there is something more that they should know or understand better. Teachers operating in traditional artisan isolation are often hesitant to discuss the content that they teach.
The report concludes that improving teaching quality is the single most important investment we can make to prepare today’s students for college and career success. But this need comes as states and school districts are struggling with dire reductions in funding. In the face of this fiscal reality, we need innovative ways to organize STEM teachers for better learning outcomes with a more cost-effective deployment of existing resources. The report says that we can achieve this objective by enabling STEM teachers to team up for more effective teaching and learning.
The report is available online (PDF)