Thursday 24 November 2022. 11:30am - 12:30pm

Organiser: Ilyse Resnick

Building educator capacity in STEM learning: the role of professional learning

Other members

Emily Ashcroft, Tom Lowrie,

Kevin Larkin, Amanda Levido, Tracy Logan

Contact Organiser: Ilyse Resnick (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

aSTEM Education Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Bruce ACT 2617, Australia


Many educators struggle to implement effective STEM learning opportunities in their classrooms (Margot & Kettler, 2019). A promising solution is professional learning (PL), which is the largest factor in supporting educator’s changed practice and subsequent improved student achievement (Yoon et al., 2007). Unfortunately, many PL programs do not meet standards for high quality effective practice, nor do they focus on STEM (Yoon et al., 2007). The current symposium discusses the potential role of PL in building educator’s capacity in STEM, taking into consideration practical, theoretical, and pedagogical factors related to teaching STEM specifically. We begin by identifying that educator’s confidence teaching STEM does not improve over time, although growth can be seen in topics that traditionally receive PL (English and mathematics). We then explore elements of PL that may support educators understanding of STEM and its accessibility within their classroom; with the second paper reconceptualising STEM as a practice and the third paper discussing the Experience-Represent-Apply pedagogical model. The ERA model is a heuristic to support educators in providing authentic STEM learning opportunities. Finally, we experimentally assess the effect of high-quality STEM PL on STEM practices and ERA, finding that PL improves educator’s confidence, interest, and leadership teaching STEM.