Exploring Saudi Arabian teachers’ changing understandings of STEM education

Kathy Smith, Greg Lancaster, Lucas Johnson

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    In 2016, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) developed a bold plan,‘Vision 2030’. This plan seeks to establish a strong foundation for future economic prosperity based on a transformational shift from the current natural resource-based economy to a knowledge economy (Wiseman, Abdelfattah & Almassaad, 2016). In addressing these reforms, the KSA Ministry of Education has engaged a number of global universities to design and implement teacher professional learning for KSA educators to build the new knowledge and skills needed to innovate the traditional curriculum. The Faculty of Education, Monash University, was engaged in this initiative, designing a 44 week program exploring technologies and pedagogies of STEM education and the implications for KSA schools. The cohort of 25 technology, mathematics and science Saudi educators experienced many STEM learning opportunities, including 17 weeks immersion in STEM education classes in Australian schools. The program was intended to positively impact teacher professional growth, evidenced by a change in participant thinking about understandings of STEM education. The intensive nature and duration of the professional learning program presented a unique opportunity to map changes in teacher thinking. This research seeks to capture such change using a mixed methods approach (anonymous surveys and regular focus group meetings). Of particular interest are the development of personal confidence with STEM teaching and the changing understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. Initial survey data reveals the vast majority of the KSA educators report a limited understanding of STEM education and low levels of self-confidence in teaching STEM classes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    EventAsian Conference on Education 2019 - Toshi Centre Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
    Duration: 31 Oct 20193 Nov 2019
    Conference number: 11th
    https://papers.iafor.org/proceedings/conference-proceedings-ace2019/ (Proceedings)


    ConferenceAsian Conference on Education 2019
    Abbreviated titleACE 2019
    Internet address


    • STEM education
    • teacher thinking
    • professional learning

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