In June 2012, Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) contributed more than $5 million to support two new programs to enhance teacher education in the province. Both of these programs focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
One of these projects, the Memorial University/Hibernia STEM Project: Teacher Inquiry Program is a five-year professional development program offered to Kindergarten to Grade 6 teachers across Newfoundland and Labrador. These teachers are given the opportunity to pursue teacher inquiry in order to enhance their teaching in STEM, as well as engage their students in the STEM subjects.
Dr. Karen Goodnough, a professor with the Faculty of Education at Memorial University, is the project leader. “In this form of professional development, teachers have opportunities to examine their classroom practice, adopting new and innovative pedagogies to support their students in becoming excited about learning science and mathematics,” said Dr. Goodnough. “Teachers take ownership of their own learning while encouraging their students to become excited about learning science in active, inquiry-based learning environments.”
Current research projects explore topics such as: Healthy Gardens, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds; Seed to Plate to Compost; Learning How to Increase Student Motivation in Math and Science; Blogging in Primary and Elementary Science and Penguins in Dildo. These research topics are selected based on teachers’ professional interests and classroom needs.
Based on an evaluation of year one of the program, many positive outcomes are being realized: enhancing teacher knowledge, skills, dispositions, and classroom practice in STEM; cultivating collaboration and communities of practice; garnering new insight into a job-embedded form of professional development and supporting the development of student literacy in STEM.
How can teachers apply to be part of the program? Information for the next application process will be available in February 2015. The review of applications and the selection of projects for 2015-16 will take place in May 2015.
For more information, please visit the Teachers in Actin website at www.mun.ca/tia.