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STEM and STEAM Education in Australian K–12 Schooling  

Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn, Melissa Silk, and Jane Martin

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education has become a global agenda, with schooling systems around the world in developed and developing countries seeking to incorporate STEM programs into their in-school and out-of-school curricula. While disciplinary integration has been common practice in primary (elementary) schooling for many decades, in the early 21st century the STEM education movement has promoted an increased focus on project- and problem-based learning across disciplines in secondary schools as well. Research suggests, however, that STEM education programs can face barriers in their implementation, often depending on whether they are designed to align with existing curriculum outcomes or whether they are developed as cocurricular programs. Challenges are also presented by the need for professional learning to equip teachers with new skills and knowledge in designing and delivering STEM education. In addition, some researchers and educators have argued for STEAM—integration of the arts in STEM education. For those concerned with school reform, a great strength of STEM and STEAM education approaches lies in the potential for transdisciplinarity. As such, new opportunities and possibilities for framing driving questions and addressing contemporary societal challenges are created. Two particular issues identified as critical are (a) the potential contribution of STEM education to creating a sustainable future, and (b) the importance of STEM education for social justice, in ensuring all children and young people have equitable access to learning opportunities.

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Effective Practices for Teaching Content Area Reading  

Elizabeth A. Stevens and Sharon Vaughn

Adequate reading skills are necessary for college and career readiness and success in the work force, but many students do not have sufficient reading skills. The 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress demonstrated that fourth- and eighth-grade students had made little to no progress in reading since the previous report in 2017. Elementary level students often receive dedicated English language arts instruction during the day, but this is not always true for secondary level students . One way that educators can support students across the grade levels is by providing evidence-based reading instruction within content areas (i.e., science and social studies instruction). Researchers have investigated ways for teachers to provide high-quality content area reading instruction to support the reading comprehension and content acquisition of students in general education settings. Previous research suggests that paraphrasing and text structure instruction support readers’ identification of key ideas and the integration of those ideas across paragraphs and passages when reading content area texts. These practices align with reading comprehension theory in support of conscious text processing while reading. Teaching readers to generate main ideas during reading may improve the reading outcomes and content acquisition outcomes not only for typical readers but also for struggling readers and those identified for special education. Educators’ implementation of such practices within science and social studies instruction may improve students’ reading performance and content learning across grade levels.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in Montessori Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in a Montessori elementary classroom in Washington, DC helps illustrate how the Montessori system’s educational infrastructure supports teachers in (re)framing problems and solutions in their classrooms. The infrastructure that supports such (re)framing includes (a) teacher training; (b) system standards around class size and composition; and (c) system guidance around community relations, paired with standards around the structure of the school day. Though the Montessori system is not yet an antiracist system, its highly elaborate infrastructure already supports a transformation in perception and pedagogy for Montessori teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has potential to help Montessori teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the Montessori system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in International Baccalaureate Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in an International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary classroom in Washington, D.C., helps illustrate how the IB system’s educational infrastructure can support teachers in (re)framing and responding to problems in their classrooms. The infrastructure that may support such (re)framing includes system-level guidance around (a) outcomes, (b) instructional methods, and (c) the use of local resources. Although the IB system is not yet an antiracist system, its educational infrastructure can support a transformation in perception and pedagogy for IB teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has the potential to help IB teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such a synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the IB system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.