Journal of STEM Teacher Education


STEM teacher educators are aware that we teach far more than content-specific methodology. Educators need to guide STEM teachers in the knowledge and skills to support emergent multilingual students (English language learners, or ELLs) by simultaneously developing their STEM content learning and scaffolding their language acquisition (Hoffman & Zollman, 2016; Suh, Hoffman, & Zollman, 2020). Research identifies the family unit having a profound effect upon student learning and educational choices. Educators, educational researchers, and policymakers alike recognize the importance of family involvement in education (Grant & Ray, 2019). Although previous family engagement initiatives have focused on teaching families from a school-based perspective (Bush & Cook, 2016), we advocate for a STEM family engagement model which honors and grows out of families’ existing funds of knowledge. This article lays out an argument for STEM teacher educators explicitly addressing multilingual family engagement as a key part of STEM education. We explain purposes, pitfalls, and practical steps STEM teacher educators can utilize that have a positive impact on diverse students’ STEM learning. We also encourage STEM educators to address “STEM mindset” in addition to STEM literacy skills and interdisciplinary STEM content knowledge.