Developing preservice teachers' understandings of STEM through an industry experience

Bruce White, Denise McGregor, Debra Panizzon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


A common pathway to becoming a teacher is for preservice teachers
(PSTs) of STEM to go directly from school to university to teaching, with
many experiencing casual employment in the retail and/or hospitality
industries. As such, STEM preservice teachers may have limited exposure
to STEM-related industries. This lack of experience can lead to naïve
views around the nature of STEM industries and their potential
applications to student learning. The result is that the potential offerings of
these industries are not included in lesson planning and unit development
even though they offer real-world applications for students of all ages.
This paper examines an innovative program at the University of South
Australia that gives STEM PSTs the opportunity of an industry experience
as part of their Initial Teacher Education program. Using qualitative data
from an initial trial of the program with 29 students, this paper reports on
the experiences of the PSTs involved and reports on their changes in
understanding and readiness to incorporate connections to industry into
their curriculum planning. Greater awareness of the nature of STEMrelated
industries and the multitude of connections they offer to teaching
emerged from PSTs industry experiences. Further development around
their understanding of what STEM teaching and learning might look like
in schools were some of the key findings discussed in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntegrated Education for the Real World
Subtitle of host publication5th International STEM in Education Conference: Post-Conference Proceedings
EditorsMaria Barrett, Rachel Bilsborough, Les Dawes, Senka Handerson, Donna King, Michelle Mukherjee, David Nutchey, Karen Whelan, Patricia Hosking
Place of PublicationBrisbane Qld Australia
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education Conference 2018 - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 21 Nov 201823 Nov 2018
Conference number: 5th


ConferenceInternational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education Conference 2018
Internet address


  • STEM
  • School industry partnerships
  • curriculum planning

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