STEM PD Net aims on improving quality of STEM teacher professional development (PD) delivered in Europe on a large scale and supporting STEM teaching through strengthening partnerships with and among PD practice.
To deal with the increasingly complex reality in class, which has accelerated in the last years, teachers need support through PD activities to adopt new integrative methods. This need is particularly pronounced in STEM teaching (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) since STEM is a field in which all pupils, including migrants or those from disadvantaged backgrounds, should acquire appropriate skills in order to ensure their participation in work and life.
Nowadays, the need for high-quality STEM teacher PD and the promotion of approaches that allow teachers to deal with complex classroom realities has been recognized. This can be seen in policy documents and reports such as the new Science Education for Responsible Citizenship (2015) report. It is also evidenced by the recent trend in Europe to establish PD centres to promote STEM teacher PD. What has not yet been achieved is to deliver the highest possible quality, based on findings from research, practice, different contexts, subjects and countries. Too often, therefore, PD activities do not lead to necessary changes in classroom practice.
Hence, our overall aim is to improve the quality and relevance of STEM teacher PD on a large scale, and to do so by strengthening the position, work and knowledge base of STEM PD centres across Europe: through transnational exchange and mutual learning in a stable European PD centre network, through linking research with practice, through developing urgently required ready-to-use
guidelines and reference materials for STEM PD providers.
To have the widest possible impact specialized STEM PD centres will be working together in this project and set up a European network. They are united by their mission to improve STEM teacher PD and bring together a wide range of different expertise.
The aims of the project are:
Improving quality of STEM teacher PD delivered in Europe on a large scale by:
(1) setting up research-based criteria for high-quality PD and enriching these with good-practice examples
(2) developing ready-to-use guidelines on how to feasibly measure the success of teacher PD in day-to-day settings as a mean of quality assurance in relation to (1),
(3) developing a catalogue for PD providers showcasing good-practice examples on how to prepare teachers to deal with diversity.
(4) collating a commented collection of STEM PD material allowing PD providers to easily find and select materials with a focus on their purpose, content, quality and potential.