Comparative Analysis of Participation of Teachers of STEM and Non-STEM Subjects in Professional Development

Edward T. Chiyaka, Joachim Kibirige, Alec Sithole, Peter McCarthy, Davison M. Mupinga


School administrators continuously consider teacher professional development (PD) as one of the key strategies to improving teachers’ pedagogical skills. Modern proposals for advancing education by improving student learning outcomes are centered on high quality professional development for teachers. However, teachers face a number of barriers when it comes to participation in PD. Also, students in K-12 levels taking Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM subjects often report different learning experiences, most of which influence their decisions to enroll in STEM or non-STEM career-related programs in higher education. Understanding factors that influence the differential in teacher participation in PD is a critical step towards addressing student interest in STEM careers. Using the cross-sectional survey data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey of 2013, this study compared the participation of middle school STEM and non-STEM teachers in PD activities in the US. A bivariate analysis was used to compare STEM subject teachers versus non-STEM subject teachers’ participation in PD activities, its impact, and challenges. The findings showed that PD participation was higher among teachers of STEM subjects, but not significantly different from those for non-STEM subjects. Out-field teaching (no formal training of subject taught) accounted for 10.3% of the survey participants. Further, conflict with one’s work schedule was one of the major barriers to PD participation for teachers.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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