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Table 4 Summary of included empirical articles

From: Teachers’ perception of STEM integration and education: a systematic literature review

Author(s) (year) Participants Methodology Findings
Al Salami et al. (2017) 42 middle and high school teachers in USA Pretest-posttest surveys administered with PD and teaching a STEM unit. 29 of the teachers also answered 2 open-ended questions about successes and challenges with implementation of STEM. No overall significant change from pretest to posttest in attitudes toward STEM. Qualitative findings of the challenges and barriers teachers felt are as follows: (1) students’ background knowledge and skills, (2) students’ buy-in, (3) securing supplies/expenses, (4) students’ group, (5) using fellows, (6) time constraints, (7) meeting mandated requirements, and (8) cross-content collaboration
Asghar et al. (2012) 25 teachers at a STEM workshop in the USA Interviews, focus groups, and observational data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Major themes found (1) initial perceptions, (2) perceptions after PD, (3) integrating STEM content and pedagogy, (4) problems with model problems, and (5) barriers to implementation.
Bagiati and Evangelou (2015) 1 preschool teacher at a university-based lab school in the USA During a 2-week long engineering related lesson, field notes, journal entries, and interview notes were analyzed using open coding and a phenomenological framework. Facilitators and barriers of implementation from both the teacher’s and researcher’s perspective were found. Regarding facilitators, teacher motivation is at top of influential factors. Barriers included teacher apprehension of engineering content and practical constraints (time, scheduling, and attendance).
Bell (2016) 19 secondary design and technology teachers in England and Wales Phenomenography was used to analyze interview transcript data. Interrelated themes were identified and data categories of description were formed. Four empirically grounded outcome spaces found (1) externally imposed knowledge, (2) internal engagement with knowledge, (3) understanding learned, and (4) STEM understanding taught. Findings indicate when a teacher’s knowledge is limited, student learning is limited.
Bruce-Davis et al. (2014) Students, teachers, and administrators at 6 STEM high schools in the USA Data from individual and focus group interviews were analyzed to identify recurring patterns through an inductive and deductive coding process. Three themes emerged (1) a common vision of a challenging and engaging learning environment, (2) a focus on applying curricular and instructional strategies and practices to real-world problems, and (3) an appreciation for academic and affective support in the challenging learning environment.
Clark and Andrews (2010) 30 teachers, govt. reps, and engineering non-profit in the UK Grounded theory methodology using findings of an exploratory study that identified and analyzed perceptions of elementary level engineering education. Three main findings are (1) pedagogic issues, (2) exposure to engineering within the curriculum, and (3) children’s interest
Dare et al. (2014) 48 9th grade physical science teachers in the USA Mixed methods methodology using observations, interviews and surveys Teachers focused on soft skill integration (teamwork and communication) instead of engineering content. Teachers felt student engagement and enjoyment were important considerations for STEM.
El-Deghaidy et al. (2017) 21 male middle school science teachers in Saudi Arabia Qualitative methodology included focus group discussions and an interview protocol. The five patterns that emerged from focus groups were (1) STEM as interdisciplinary, (2) STEM as linked to life, (3) twenty-first century skills and careers, (4) pedagogical content knowledge and STEM, (5) STEM school culture, (6) factors facilitating STEM implementation, and (7) factors hindering STEM implementation.
Goodpaster et al. (2012) 6 rural STEM teachers in the USA Phenomenographical study using interviews regarding their perceptions of benefits and challenges. Community interactions, professional development, and rural school structures emerged as three key factors. Participants felt each of these factors had both positive and negative implications.
Herro and Quigley (2017) 21 middle school math and science teachers in the USA Descriptive case study of teachers participating in a year-long STEAM PD using observations, written reflections, focus group interviews, and teacher-created artifacts. Teachers increased their understanding of STEAM to teach content and perceived the PD as effective in changing their practices. They felt collaboration and integrated technology were important considerations to effect successful STEAM implementation.
Holstein and Keene (2013) 3 high school teachers implementing new STEM curriculum in the USA Observations and interviews examining teachers’ conceptions related to their implementation of STEM materials were coded using Productive Pedagogies framework. Common conceptions that influenced teacher implementation were (1) negative beliefs about student abilities, (2) lack of subject matter knowledge, and (3) non-traditional beliefs about teaching that led to use of pedagogical techniques similar to those of the curriculum creators.
Hsu et al. (2011) 192 elementary teachers in the USA DET survey results were examined using non-parametric tests (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis). Participants felt design, engineering, and technology (DET) is important, but felt unfamiliar with the content. Teacher motivations to teach DET differed based on their ethnic backgrounds.
Lehman et al. (2014) 40 6th grade teachers and 10 university faculty in the USA Mixed methods using surveys and interviews. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used for qualitative data and ANOVA for quantitative data. Quantitative results suggest teachers and faculty demonstrate elements of collaboration similar to those of an effective community of practice, and qualitative data identified factors that participants felt were important (dialog, decision-making, action taking, and evaluation.)
Lesseig et al. (2016) 34 grade 6–8 teachers in the USA Case study of observations, field notes, artifacts, and video during implementation of STEM design challenges. Teachers valued STEM practices and learner motivation/engagement. Challenges associated with pedagogy, curriculum, and school structures were identified.
McMullin and Reeve (2014) Phase II—33 teachers, 29 counselors, and 29 administrators in the USA Phase I led to factors that contribute to program success; Phase II—surveys over these factors with comment boxes were sent to participants and descriptive statistics for each group were analyzed. Factors found necessary for successful program were supportive administrators, supportive counselors, and dynamic teachers. Teachers felt high-quality curriculum and meeting program goals were important. They felt providing career pathways for students and opportunities for engineering related education were goals for implementation.
Nadelson et al. (2013) 33 elementary teachers in the USA Demographics, confidence for teaching STEM survey, and a survey of efficacy for teaching STEM were analyzed for correlations pre and post PD. Significant and consistent increases in pre- to post-PD of teacher confidence, efficacy, and perceptions of STEM. Also, increased links between STEM curriculum and instruction to learning standards were made by teachers.
Nadelson and Seifert (2013) 377 K-12 teachers in the USA Several STEM teaching surveys were administered pre and post STEM institute then descriptive statistics and correlations were found. Participants had an average level of comfort teaching STEM before the institute, which increased significantly after the institute. Some teacher characteristics, perceptions, and practices were related to one another.
Nadelson et al. (2012) 230 grade 4–9 teachers in the USA. Pre- and post- survey results of various STEM implementation factors were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlations. Participants’ perceptions and conceptions of STEM achieved substantial gains after the STEM institute. Perceptions of efficacy for teaching STEM was found related to comfort with teaching STEM, pedagogical discontentment with teaching STEM and inquiry implementation.
Park et al. (2016) 705 STEAM teachers in South Korea Online surveys of beliefs and perceptions toward STEAM and demographic data were analyzed using OLS regression. Although the majority of teachers had a positive view of STEAM education, they noted challenges to successful implementation such as time, increases in workload, and lack of financial and administrative support.
Park et al. (2017) 830 early childhood teachers in preschool – third grade in the USA Online survey of teachers’ beliefs about readiness for teaching STEM was examined using latent class analysis. Open-ended survey questions were used to reveal themes about their opinions about STEM education. Teachers’ teaching experience and their awareness of the importance of STEM played a differential role in the classification of teachers into latent classes. Themes from open-ended questions revealed teachers felt these were challenges: (1) lack of time to teach STEM, (2) lack of administrative support, (3) lack of PD, (4) lack of knowledge about STEM topics, (5) lack of parental participation, and (6) reluctance of teachers to collaborate.
Smith et al. (2015) 280 secondary agriculture teachers in the USA Descriptive survey methods were used. Online survey results were analyzed using MANOVA and descriptive statistics were found. Teachers felt each of the four components of STEM integration important. They had high levels of confidence in integrating science and math, but lower confidence levels for teaching technology and engineering.
Srikoom et al. (2017) 154 teachers (k-12) from schools in Thailand. Using survey data, descriptive statistics, and ANOVA were used for quantitative analysis. Interpretive methods were used for qualitative analysis. Majority of teachers (85.5%) had not heard of STEM education and 19% could not provide a definition of it. Teachers felt STEM education is important, but have concerns about the engineering discipline.
Stohlmann et al. (2012) 4 middle school STEM teachers in the USA Field notes, observations, and interviews, collected over school year, were analyzed using constant comparative method. Content and pedagogical knowledge were found to contribute to positive self-efficacy. Teacher felt these supports are needed for successful STEM education: (1) partner with university or nearby school, (2) attend PD, (3) teacher collaboration time, and (4) curriculum company training and contacts.
Van Haneghan et al. (2015) 43 middle school math, science, and technology teachers in the USA Surveys of teacher efficacy in teaching STEM were analyzed using t tests Pearson correlations, Fisher’s exact test, and for descriptive comments. Teachers believe they have the instructional skills, professional development, and resources to carry out engineering design challenges, but some did not feel confident in their ability to foster intrinsic motivation in students.
Wang et al. (2011) 3 middle school teachers that participated in a year-long PD on STEM in the USA Qualitative case study was used to determine teachers’ beliefs about and perceptions of STEM integration. Constant comparative method was used to analyze data. Technology was the hardest discipline to integrate. The problem-solving process is a key component to successfully integrating STEM disciplines. Teachers in different STEM disciplines have different perceptions about STEM that leads to different classroom practices. Teachers are aware they need to add more content knowledge in their STEM integration.