Elementary Teachers' Receptivity to Integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education in the Elementary Grades
AuthorThomas, Troy Andrew
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This study examines elementary teachers' receptivity to integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in the elementary grades prior to formal approval and declaration of its implementation in elementary schools. A 35-item, seven-point Likert scale survey instrument, adapted from Waugh and Godfrey's (1993, 1995), and Lee's (2000) receptivity to change instruments, was formatted, uploaded, and distributed online. In addition, face-to-face interviews were conducted to support, clarify, and/or extend quantitative data. Analyses revealed that overall elementary teachers' receptivity was positive to integrated STEM education in the elementary grades. Further, analyses revealed that novice teachers had significantly more positive attitude than veteran teachers to integrated STEM education in the elementary grades, general education teachers had significantly more positive attitude and behavior intentions than did special education teachers, and intermediate grade-level teachers had significantly more positive behavior intentions than primary grade-level teachers.Analyses revealed strong positive relationships between each dependent variable (attitude and behavior intentions) and two of the independent variables (perceived school and other types of support and perceived practicality), and each dependent variable showed a strong negative relationship with teachers' issues of concern. In addition, a significant proportion of the variation in teachers' attitudes and teachers' behavior intentions was predicted by the linear combination of teachers' issues of concern associated with implementing integrated STEM education, perceived school and other types of support, and perceived practicality of integrated STEM education in the elementary grades.Finally, qualitative data, in support of quantitative data, revealed that elementary teachers possess initial positive receptivity to implementing integrated STEM education in the elementary grades. Analysis further revealed elementary teachers' perceived obstacles to and they provided insightful perspectives on how best to achieve short and long-term success for implementing integrated STEM education into the elementary grades.