I have engaged in preliminary groups discussions with STEM teachers to discuss the STEM curriculum in Irish Secondary Schools, the problems they face with completing the curriculum and the teaching methods they use. The main problem that occurred time and time again was time constraints on the teachers – they don’t have time to delve through websites etc. to gather resources, they want them provided to them. For this reason I have developed a teacher study to delve into this area further. The study is divided into two parts –
(1) an online survey which is divided into two sections. Section one (resources) will be used to determine what websites teachers use to get their classroom resources, what type of resources these are and how useful they find these resources and section two (community) will look to see if and how teachers use Social Media for their professional careers and what communities they are involved in for teaching and learning purposes.
(2) Semi-structured interview with second level teachers to learn if and how teachers in the same school/different schools communicate and collaborate with each other. I also want to tease out what problems teachers face in the classroom with regards to the curriculum and resources and what they would like to see improved or changed to help them.
The Research Questions I am looking to answer as part of this study are:
- How do teachers communicate and collaborate with each other?
- What problems do teachers face with regards to preparing learning material for the classroom?
- How do teachers use Social Media for their professional lives?
In terms of participants I am hoping to get 50+ responses to the survey on a national scale. I also want to conduct 10-15 semi-structured interviews with second-level STEM teachers from a mixture of higher class, middle class and lower class or disadvantaged schools. I plan to conduct this study during the month of May 2018.