EDUCATION WORKSHOP II EFFECTIVE TEACHING
strategies work to bring girls and young women into areas
in which they remain underrepresented and become increasingly
underrepresented through the education and workplace pipeline
computer science, engineering, physical sciences and
Suzanne E. Franks
Director, Women in Engineering and Science Program, Kansas
Kim Ann Zajack
Director of Pre-College Programs, The Douglass Project for
Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering, Rutgers University
were science educators. Although most were K-12 teachers,
the group also included science museum education staff, directors
of programs for girls and young women in science, and university/college
faculty and staff.
six key issues affecting girls interest and persistence
in science, math and technology:
- Many girls still
do not understand they need a career;
- Many careers
in science, engineering, technology, and related fields
have a negative or nonexistent public image,
especially among girls;
- We still do
not attract enough capable college students into the professions
of mathematics and science teaching;
- Teachers in
these areas require different teacher training that emphasizes
inquiry-based approaches and prepares them for real-life
- Teachers in
many schools lack adequate materials and resources for inquiry-based
science and mathematics education;
- Teachers need
summer programs in which they actually do science or can
learn new pedagogical techniques and funding to enable
them to participate in these programs.
discussion led to a series of recommendations to engage girls,
and to support and improve science teaching for girls and
for all children.
- We will be most
successful if we get girls excited about science early.
This effort has to extend beyond PBS and public-access broadcasting
in order to have a significant effect, and should use formats
to which kids respond, such as the "fun" strategies
of teaching employed by Sesame Street. Kids crave repetition,
and video formats allow us to have a huge impact on their
interests if used imaginatively.
and teachers need to learn that science is less about
answers than about asking good questions and figuring out
ways to answer those questions. This is an especially important
lesson for girls, many of whom find it difficult to keep
asking questions until they obtain the answer they need.
Science and math teacher education programs need to make
this approach part of their own pedagogy as well as part
of their curriculum.
- K-12 curriculum
design should draw on the expertise of a wide range of professionals
child development experts, scientists/mathematicians,
education faculty and even theater professionals
to create classes that are exciting, age-appropriate and
- All kids need
to hear from teachers that it is OK for science and math
to be hard: "Its hard, but its also fun."
learning should be the model for science education from
the earliest grades. Teacher-education programs should use
and teach this pedagogy, and standards-based curricula should
be designed that can measure such learning.
- At all educational
levels, all children profit from bringing practicing scientists,
engineers and high-technology professionals into the classroom
to talk about their work. Such visits are most effective
if they are part of a regular program of visits rather than
in this workshop concurred with national reports that identify
middle school as a point when many girls turn away from
math, science and technology. To counter that trend they
to counter social pressures driving girls from sciences,
such as women scientist mentors & classroom speakers;
- More "smart
camps" and in-school science enrichment for middle-school
girls (most are targeted at high-school-age students,
when many girls have already dropped out);
of math and science across the curriculum;
- More opportunities
to do experiments, especially on topics girls care about.
- Schools need to do a better job of
teaching girls that they will need a career and the capacity
to support themselves and possibly a family. This requires
teaching girls basic economics, as well as creating a sense
of opportunity and excitement about a wider array of career
paths. Children, parents and guidance counselors are not
aware of the wide array of career paths in science and technology
fields. Schools need to institute professional development
programs for counselors and information programs for parents
and children from middle school onward.
- Even where they
exist, science and technology mentoring programs do not
have a reliable positive impact on the girls they serve.
Participants called for more effective dissemination of
successful models and for new strategies to increase the
interest of older women in becoming mentors.
- Teacher education
programs must teach and model inquiry-based learning that
teaches students to ask good questions and search for good
- New teachers
need time to learn to teach, and experienced staff need
to be renewed in their teaching. Mentoring and ongoing professional-development
opportunities to learn new content and pedagogy in math
and science are crucial to success and persistence in the
- Many teachers
need more good curricular materials. Science museums can
play an important role in developing and disseminating programs
to public libraries as well as schools.
- Schools should
support more team-teaching in science. Different members
of a team can appeal to their students varied learning styles
by teaching the same concept in different ways. Teams can
more easily divide classes into smaller sections to facilitate
cooperative group learning.
- Summer enhancement
programs for math and science teachers pose opportunities
recommended development of a national database or clearinghouse
of professional-development workshops and summer opportunities.
- Many teachers
struggle to obtain funding to attend enrichment programs
or create enrichment programs for students. Foundations
and corporations can do more to support effective enrichment
programs, and university partners can assist K-12 teachers
with workshops on grant-writing.
- Teachers respond
positively to programs in which they do experiments that
they can then include in their own classes. Familiarity
helps create the confidence to introduce new materials
and approaches into their own courses and creates the
experience to offer effective guidance to their own students.
and engineering companies should create more opportunities
for teachers to work in laboratories during the summer.
Many teachers have no personal experience in research,
testing or production. Participants felt these corporate
internships would complement university-based workshops.
to schedule time for teachers to engage in unstructured
professional exchange; teachers in turn must make a commitment
to take part in these discussions.
universities generally look at K-12/university partnerships
as a one-way relationship. Teachers expertise in teaching
can benefit their university partners.