STEM Education for Disadvantaged Students: Teacher and Student Experiences

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Esra Bozkurt Altan, Esra Köroğlu


STEM education is based on interrelated and holistic teaching of the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is important to ensure that STEM education does not address a certain category of society only but that it is also applied to disadvantaged segments of society. The aim of the present study is to identify the opinions of socio-economically disadvantaged students and their teachers about STEM education experience. The study was planned according to the case study model. The participants of the research consisted of a teacher and 34 Grade-8 students studying in a regional boarding school (RBS) in a northern province of Turkey. In the study, a unit (Living Beings and Life) within the scope of 8th grade science course was planned in accordance with STEM education. The data of the study were collected through student diaries and the field notes taken by the teacher. The data obtained from student diaries were subjected to content analysis, and the field notes were analysed with descriptive analysis. It was determined that the RBS students evaluated STEM-focused activities and the related applications in terms of their contributions to their learning process, 21st-century skills, their perceptions about STEM disciplines and the development of their career awareness on STEM fields. The results obtained from the teachers’ field notes showed that the students’ participation and group work skills increased, that the students had fun and became motivated in the course, and that they experienced an improvement in their skills of associating what they learned with their daily life, solving problems and designing and in their engineering awareness.

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