A Pathway to STEM Education: Investigating Pre-Service Mathematics and Science Teachers at Turkish Universities in Terms of Their Understanding of Mathematics Used in Science
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Reforms in education of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines have been particularly critical for the economic competitiveness of Turkey. STEM education includes the set of knowledge, skills, and beliefs which are collaboratively constructed by students and teachers at the intersection of more than one STEM subject area. The overall purpose for all three studies comprising this dissertation was to investigate whether prospective Turkish mathematics and science teachers were ready to implement STEM education in terms of their integrated teaching knowledge (ITK), teaching self-efficacy beliefs, and attitudes toward mathematics and science integration. The dissertation employed a quantitative research methodology to investigate ITK and attitudes whereas teaching self-efficacy beliefs were investigated with an explanatory mixed methods study. Results from the first study suggested that the pre-service mathematics and science teachers, who were educated in an integrated teaching education program, outperformed peers in the departmentalized teacher education program in terms of their ITK. There was evidence in the second study that practical teaching experiences helped pre-service mathematics and science teachers develop high self-efficacy beliefs for mathematics and science integration. The findings of the third study indicated that the integrated teacher education program provided noteworthy benefits for pre-service attitudes toward mathematics and science integration when compared to pre-service mathematics teachers in the departmentalized program. The unique attributes of integrated mathematics and science teacher education programs, such as balanced coursework of content, pedagogy, and pedagogical content knowledge, integrated teaching courses, and the increased peer stimulation in classrooms were discussed as possible factors that explain the results. Overall, the three studies demonstrated that the pre-service mathematics and science teachers in the integrated teacher education program were ready to implement STEM education aligned with the reforms enacted by the K-12 policy-making organization while the departmentalized teacher education program, which was recommended by the higher education policy making organization, was preparing pre-service teachers as content experts of individual STEM subjects. Policy coordination in K-12 and higher education emerged as a critical factor for the success of Turkish education reforms.
Corlu, Mehmet (2012). A Pathway to STEM Education: Investigating Pre-Service Mathematics and Science Teachers at Turkish Universities in Terms of Their Understanding of Mathematics Used in Science. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from