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  1. Cathy Lussier
  2. Assistant Professor of Teaching
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. UC Riverside
  1. Ashley Donham
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. UC Riverside

STEM Pre-Service Teacher Scholars Program with Special Training to Support En...

NSF Awards: 1852890

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

A substantial achievement gap between K-12 English learners (ELs) and non-ELs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content areas exists, as indicated by national assessments of student outcomes. Determining methods to generate more equitable participation in STEM and address this achievement gap, especially during the time of COVID-19, is of immediate concern. Research has indicated this gap may be exacerbated by lack of adequate teacher preparation, specifically in STEM fields, to effectively teach students who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD). Founded in previous research about effective teacher preparation, the current project pilots a model of early STEM pre-service teacher training that generates a positive impact for pre-service teachers and their students. Five STEM pre-service teachers participated in a year-long supplemental training program focused on adapting STEM instruction for ELs. Components of the supplemental program included: (a) coursework extending teacher knowledge of EL language development, (b) fieldwork providing early exposure to research-based teaching experiences with EL students, and (c) professional development guiding the creation of hands-on science/math curriculum for diverse learners. Qualitative and quantitative data suggest that pre-service teachers who participated in the supplemental programming had an increased sense of self-efficacy in STEM instruction with ELs, increased motivation for teaching STEM in schools serving underrepresented populations, and greater growth in STEM instructional practices. Study results will provide educational models for improving STEM education for all students, specifically through distance learning modalities during COVID-19, thereby addressing a crucial need to serve the growing national population of underserved students.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (21 posts)
  • Icon for: Paige Evans

    Paige Evans

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 10:50 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your video.  These are good results!  I also like that they are starting their careers in areas with high numbers of EL populations.  We also have high populations of ELs in the Houston area. 

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 11, 2021 | 10:28 p.m.

    Thanks, Paige! We were pretty nervous on the first study. Nothing like having a pandemic in the middle of things to make it exciting when it comes to preparing to teach. That's terrific that you're working with similar populations in Houston. I've heard good things about teachHouston and the work your team has been doing. I saw you have a new book out. I think it's called "Preparing Teachers to Teach the STEM Disciplines in America’s Urban Schools" based on some of the experiences. Do you think it would be one students could read selections from, or is it more linear?  

  • Icon for: Paige Evans

    Paige Evans

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 10:50 a.m.

    Thanks Cathy!  I believe the book is more suited to those involved in pre and in-service teacher preparation.  However, there are segments they would find useful.  

    I echo your thoughts with the pandemic and working with emerging teachers.  It seems like this semester even brought more challenges with all of the uncertainty.

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 13, 2021 | 09:18 p.m.

    Thanks for the details on the book, Paige! Yes, I think you're right that this semester involved, in some ways, even more challenges because of the evolving situation and uncertainty of which way things were going to go and all the new procedures in each scenario that could be involved. 

  • Icon for: Brian Gane

    Brian Gane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 02:00 p.m.

    Promising results so far in a much needed area of focus! Can you share more about the PD/PL experiences that have worked well in your project? For teachers interested in adapting materials for CLD learners, what sort of supports are helpful and/or available?

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 11, 2021 | 11:02 p.m.

    Hi Brian. Thanks for the great questions.

    For our PD's we focused on different things. The areas we worked on the most this year were: 1) strategies and lesson supports and how to implement them, 2) building background knowledge of the new ELPAC (and why it was updated from the old less culturally sensitive one) and standards associated with EL's in CA and how they might be used to inform STEM lesson planning, and 3) how to be more social emotionally supportive in the stress/trauma some of our students are experiencing both because of the pandemic and other at-home/real world factors that have been going on. For this last one, I approached faculty in my department who were doing research in this area to come in and share what had been learned and to show video clip examples of the case studies in school sites from their research so the advice was as current as possible with visuals the students could see and brainstorm. 

    Some specifics for strategy building and support that we can build into STEM lessons:

     Of course, there's a variety of strategies to support students and we didn't get to them all, but some of the basics are ones a lot of our student teachers recognized they just maybe did not realize how critical they are for CLD learners.

    For example, including a variety of culturally relevant examples (that relate to students backgrounds or interests), allowing students to talk about where they have encountered aspects of the topic in their own lives, including visuals with instructions and information, role modeling and demonstrating procedures as well as verbalizing, breaking instructions into shorter steps (rather than having a long paragraph like this one - lol), providing realia examples (real life images, video clips, or props not just illustrations or diagrams), having opportunities to express answers in multiple formats (not always requiring verbal or formal responses), providing examples or sentence stems or academic language usage, remembering to include instructional vocabulary (what do you mean by "write a paper"), giving opportunities to share thinking with a partner or small group to practice using academic language in a low anxiety level, introducing spatial thinking (using hand gestures to simulate abstract ideas, for example how slip faults work in earthquakes allows for greater understanding), etc.  

    The PD would discuss the importance of each of these, but then we'd stop and have our students talk about where they had either done this already (either deliberately or perhaps not realized it in their lesson building) and how it had turned out. Or they discussed how they could revise and update lessons they were thinking about doing to include the element. A lot of the times we had them give each other ideas. That last part was we wanted them to be a community, so that when we were done and they were graduated they would keep asking each other for tips and advice such as that there are free manipulatives online (tangrams) or free website demonstrations with visuals and handouts in Spanish and English that you could select by NGSS topic or grade level (NASA JPL - https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/teach/).

  • Icon for: Brian Gane

    Brian Gane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 11:55 p.m.

    Thank you for the in-depth response Cathy, all the examples and then extension to the PD structure is really helpful! 

  • Icon for: Anne Kern

    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 06:01 p.m.

    Hello UC Riverside Team,

    Engaging underserved/underrepresented students in STEM is a great focus and a "Broader Impacts" focus of the NSF!

    Can you tell me more about the pedagogical and instructional modules or strategies you focus on?

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 11, 2021 | 11:24 p.m.

    Hi Anne,

    I'd be glad to share more about the strategies and pedagogical mindset we used. 

    First we we went with multi-layered approach. Our supervisors and mentor teachers talked about strategies they used and why as part of the day to day interactions with our scholars at school sites so this was more hands-on scaffolding. Then our Noyce scholars received deeper training in PD workshops (where we focused on building knowledge or making connections different strategies and how they can help - for example spatial hand gestures for abstract STEM concepts that aren't easily visualized). Then we also had whole team round up meetings (still in Zoom) which was focused on more the students collaboratively talking - we guided them with questions, but had them take the lead and share what they had tried, if it had work, having brainstorming sessions on how to reflect and revise STEM lessons or problem solve if they weren't certain how to implement things (for example - "I know how to do this with in person, how do I do this in Zoom?")

    As for what strategies, we talked about how to implement them in the lesson plans and student classrooms today/now (not in a perfect non-COVID future) 2) we also focused on the idea that a lot of these strategies you would want to include to help support your students who are CLD but they are also great for helping everyone

    Some examples are ones we may even do already but not be aware of how much they can help. Some of our PD's had students trying to describe how to tie a shoelace no hand gestures and no visuals and you could suddenly see how much strategies that can seem basic can make instructions much more accessible. We also demonstrated different ways to interact in small groups in online settings such as using Jamboard (a virtual white board akin to a Google doc but that you can draw, put post-it notes, annotate diagrams, etc on.). 

    In our most recent one, we went through some of the basic strategies that can be easily included without any money: stop and check to see if you included a variety of culturally relevant examples (that relate to students backgrounds or interests), remembering to include time for students to talk about where they have encountered aspects of the topic in their own lives or share what they know already about the topic, including visuals with instructions and information, role modeling and demonstrating procedures as well as verbalizing, breaking instructions into shorter steps (rather than having a long paragraph like this one - lol), providing realia examples (real life images, video clips, or props not just illustrations or diagrams), having opportunities to express answers in multiple formats (not always requiring verbal or formal responses), providing examples or sentence stems or academic language usage, remembering to include instructional vocabulary (what do you mean by "write a paper"), giving opportunities to share thinking with a partner or small group to practice using academic language in a low anxiety level, introducing spatial thinking (using hand gestures to simulate abstract ideas, for example how slip faults work in earthquakes allows for greater understanding), etc.  

    Thanks for asking!

    Cathy

  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    Facilitator
    Assistant Vice Provost and Director, CRTLE
    May 12, 2021 | 01:53 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing this presentation! In reading the responses above, it seems your Scholars had extensive preparation on teaching ELs and diverse learners, which is so important. How did you measure self-efficacy and motivation among your Scholars? (We use the STEBI and MTEBI instruments for self-efficacy). Will you follow the Scholars to determine the extent to which they implement the strategies you prepared them with in your program once they are in the classroom? It would be interesting to learn of the impacts of this work on the students in your Scholars' classrooms!

  • Icon for: Ashley Donham

    Ashley Donham

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 13, 2021 | 11:20 a.m.

    Hi Ann, thank you for your comment and feedback! 

    For this project, we asked scholars a series of questions about how confident they were implementing science and/or mathematics strategies / how confident they were implementing those strategies with ELs. One of our next steps for future cohorts is to use a standardized measure of self-efficacy. Thank you so much for the suggestion of using the STEBI and MTEBI instruments, we will have to look into them! How have those instruments worked for you and your project? 

    Further next steps are to follow-up with scholars once they have been working in the classroom for an extended period of time. Since this project was with our first cohort, our first follow-up was learning where they ended up for a career placement. Hopefully our scholars are back to working in-person in the classrooms next year and we can conduct a more thorough follow-up evaluation to assess whether they continue to implement the strategies they've learned in their classroom.

     
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    Ann Cavallo
  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    Facilitator
    Assistant Vice Provost and Director, CRTLE
    May 14, 2021 | 03:15 p.m.

    The STEBI and MTEBI work well for quantitative data. I think it is a good idea to also collect qualitative data as you are doing to gain more insight into the areas where they may feel confident/not so confident in teaching science and math. Glad you will be able to follow up as your program goes forward!

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 18, 2021 | 07:11 p.m.

    Great tips. We hope to use a quantitative survey and a semi-structured interview for this June as well. 

  • May 12, 2021 | 12:12 p.m.

    Hello and thank you for sharing your work! I'd love to know more about how the field experience connected to the coursework and advanced PD. Sounds like wonderful supports for the PSTs!

  • Icon for: Ashley Donham

    Ashley Donham

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 13, 2021 | 11:21 a.m.

    Hi Julie!

    Our university partnered with a local school district that has adopted a transformational approach to classroom learning. All scholars were placed with a District Cooperating Teacher (DCT) within that district. The district’s non-traditional approach to STEM learning is contextual and integrated with other skills, including English language competency which is especially important for our EL students. The curriculum is aligned to state standards in all four core areas – ELA, math, science, and social science. However, instead of cataloging learning into traditional divided subjects, the schools emphasize the integration of subject matter. Placing our scholars within this district provides them a unique training opportunity to apply and practice the skills they learn in their coursework and in the PD events. Further, the district has a diverse population (74% are Hispanic, 15% African American, 6% White; 80% eligible for free/reduced lunch; 22% ELs), so our scholars get a substantial amount of practical experience working with diverse learners (which is the primary focus of our PD events). 

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 07:37 p.m.

    As another Noyce project co-PI, I can appreciate the challenges - as well as the new opportunities - the pandemic created.

    I have heard from several teachers we are working with that EL students were often among those that suffered the most from a move to remote teaching, as they could not benefit of the many supports offered in school.  Yet one may also hope that technology could have provided some advantages to EL students in a remote setting - as they could view videos multiple times and at lower speed, get translations, etc.

    Did you find any specific uses of technologies that helped EL students and you could suggest other programs to make their student teachers aware of.

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 13, 2021 | 09:54 p.m.

    Hi Raffaella,

    You're right. I think EL students and their families did face some of the greatest challenges during this past year, but in some ways, it also brought some positive notes through technology. 

    Students were given chances to re-watch videos as often as they needed. Student teachers could provide key steps in dual languages or with modeling.  There was also opportunities for translations and sentence stems for different levels.

    But also some things that were facilitated by technology that we really didn't expect. For instance, it allowed opportunities to not only include real life examples from the students own lives through something as basic as the Zoom class call. Several of our scholars said they felt they got to know their students better. The example that comes to mind was during a physics lesson on sound waves. They asked the students to find something that made sound in their home. To do a 5 minute scavenger hunt. Some brought back a rattle. A jar with paperclips. But one student brought a guitar back to the screen. They then all talked about sounds and sound waves, that these could produce as part of the lesson and how sound waves work. During this process the Noyce scholar had the student with the guitar demonstrate different things by covering different parts with his hand. Then during the break the student played the guitar for the class. My Noyce scholar said this had been a student that barely talked in class prior to this day and he was so proud to be able to do all this during the lesson.

    This led to a great discussion the next day about how instruments were made to produce sound. And the Noyce student teacher brought in a video clip about the Paraguay Orchestra where instruments are made from recycled goods by the community. 

    Another way technology helped, is that we had PD's on how to use Jamboard as part of lectures which was free for the students. For example, students sorted pictures which were composite and recycleable. They drew drew diagrams, they answered "KWL" questions (what do you know about this, what do you want to know what was the big thing I learned today).  Students did not have to be linguistically proficient at the same level to communicate their thinking. For example, they could draw on a diagram the stages of photosynthesis, label with academic language, or make informal hypotheses on post-it notes. This not only allowed our EL students multiple ways of expressing themselves (some with formal language, some by drawing) in a way that was a less high takes than in front of the entire class, but this also allowed our student teachers to see in real-time across multiple boards which students were less certain and pop in with scaffolding hints at the right level for our different EL's by providing timely feedback.

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Allan

    Elizabeth Allan

    Facilitator
    Professor; Secondary Science Education Program Coordinator
    May 13, 2021 | 09:12 p.m.

    What an interesting and extremely relevant project. In trying to prepare teachers to work with EL students, especially preserve teachers with little experience with EL students, one of the hurdles is the idea of using culturally relevant curriculum and having a curriculum that is student-centered and based on sensemaking. How have your strategies help your participants to move from teacher-centered to student sensemaking?

     

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 13, 2021 | 10:27 p.m.

    Hi Elizabeth

    Yes, you're right that students, including even ones who might have grown up as EL's themselves, student teachers often come in without any real experience or understanding of how to teach CLD students except by going off of gut instinct. One of the first PD's we have is one where we are exploring the crossover to NGSS standards with a 5E lesson format. Ostensibly, they're just learning the stages, however, we do it with a constructivistic approach where they're using active engagement and sensemaking and building on what they already knew about lesson planning and about biology. We used it as a demo lesson. (This first PD was pre-COVID and so we did it with the infamous owl pellets and tweezers and paper plates in person.) At various steps, we pulled back the proverbial curtain and had them stop and reflect on how we were (or how we were not depending on the step) having them be passive vs. active or relating it to their own backgrounds and experiences. We discussed too what had made certain instructions or examples more accessible for people where the academic vocabulary might be the barrier. It not only showed them a live example of what a lesson could do, but it afforded buy-in in that they understood parts that got them thinking and learning vs. parts where we just direct instructed. We also talked about how teaching is a learning process, and that revising and reflecting so you're more culturally and personally relevant each time made it okay to explore and try new ways to be responsive to your students.  

    Shortly after this early PD, our scholars were placed with a mentor teacher (we called these District Cooperative Teachers) within a partner school district who would continue scaffolding on site. Additionally, we deliberately chose a district that provided a non-traditional approach to STEM learning in that it encouraged its teachers to integrate or cross-pollinate information with other subjects for them to practice their lesson planning within. This way students could see how new information related to previous experiences in their own life as well as the relevance across multiple settings. For example, how learning about frequencies in math the week before and how that relates to something to climate and weather, can help express data in class the following week.

    This was then followed up by further PD's introducing strategies that they could then incorporate in as part of sensemaking with their students. 

  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 12:56 p.m.

    Hi Noyce folks,

    Can you please describe how your programming helps your preservice teachers understand the systemic issues that cause opportunity gaps?

    Thanks so much,

    Janelle

  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor of Teaching
    May 18, 2021 | 06:58 p.m.

    Hi Janelle,

    Thanks for the great question. As you know there are many contributing factors to systemic issues with opportunity gaps, which meant that we included different aspects into our programming. The first is that we had workshops on STEM lesson planning which included discussing incorporating culturally relevant examples, asking questions that drew on student’s personal funds of knowledge and backgrounds, and providing role models or real-life examples that were representational. This also included building varying ways to communicate, collaborate, and assess including the use of technology (such as nearpod, Zoom breakout rooms, flipgrid as they problem solve the answer by recording their drawing, fake tweets for chat boxes summarizing major findings, and Jamboards) both formally and informally in the classroom so that students can gain a feeling of confidence in communicating within math and science topics. For example, this allows students who are English Learners to be important contributors of knowledge and helps students form a sense of positive science identity.

    We also held PD workshops such as a recent symposium where we asked doctoral students from our university’s school psychology program to come in and present their dissertation research on such relevant topics as how to generate more inclusive communication methods with Spanish speaking parents in the K-12 setting and the supportive strategies you can provide for students in foster care and/or who have been traumatized by family separation.

    Additionally, our project partnered with a local school district that has a diverse population (74% are Hispanic, 15% African American, 6% White; 80% eligible for free/reduced lunch; 22% ELs), so our scholars get a substantial amount of practical experience as part of their fieldwork applying these lesson plans and strategies.

    Cathy

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