Journal of STEM Teacher Education


Integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is perceived to be the magic bullet for progressive and futuristic learning. It is widely touted as a way to develop 21st century competencies and scientific literacy. Despite the ubiquitous use of the term STEM, understanding of STEM education remains largely diffused. This study serves as a first in contributing a Singaporean narrative on perceptions of STEM education. To discern the diversity and prevalence of understanding of STEM education, 16 undergraduate preservice teachers (PST) responded to a series of questions. Out of the 16, nine PSTs were randomly selected for an interview to further elucidate their perceptions. Responses were coded and organized with respect to a validated conceptual lens. PSTs presented ideas that were similarly reported in other studies such as workforce readiness and making interdisciplinary connections, suggesting some perceptions are universal. New ideas such as STEM education transcending school contexts also emerged from the data. Further, PSTs could distinguish the epistemic practices of science and engineering to some extent. Their understanding of the knowledge-building processes in each discipline appeared to be emerging with generally accurate descriptions of certain epistemic practices. Some PSTs demonstrated ease in blending epistemic practices of both disciplines. However, PSTs harboured some potentially limiting conceptions of engineering such as a focus on physical products.

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