Exploring Saudi Arabian Teachers’ Changing Understandings of STEM Education

Abstract

In 2016, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) developed a bold ‘Vision 2030’ plan that seeks to establish a strong foundation for future economic prosperity based on a transformational shift from the current natural resource-based economy to a knowledge economy (Wiseman, Abdelfattah and Almassaad, 2016). In addressing these reforms, the KSA Ministry of Education has engaged a number of global universities to design and implement teacher professional learning for KSA educators to build new knowledge and skills needed to innovate the traditional curriculum. The Faculty of Education, Monash University, is currently engaged in this initiative, providing a 44 week program exploring technologies and pedagogies of STEM education and the implications for KSA schools. The cohort of 25 technology, mathematics and science Saudi educators will experience many STEM Learning opportunities, including 17 weeks immersion in STEM education classes in Australian schools. The program is intended to positively impact teacher professional growth, evidenced by a change in participant thinking about understandings of STEM education. The intensive nature and duration of the professional learning program presents a unique opportunity to map changes in thinking. This research seeks to capture such change using a mixed methods approach (anonymous surveys and regular focus group meetings). Of particular interest are the development of personal confidence with STEM teaching and the changing understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. Initial survey data reveals the vast majority of the KSA educators report a limited understanding of STEM education and low levels of self-confidence in teaching STEM classes.



Author Information
Kathy Smith, Monash University, Australia
Greg Lancaster, Monash University, Australia
Lucas Johnson, Monash University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2019
Stream: Professional Training

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