ReMSTEP (Reconceptualising Mathematics and Science Teacher Education) is an initiative shared between four Victorian Universities to introduce contemporary STEM research practices into pre-service teacher education, in order to engage these future teachers in inquiry and problem solving pedagogies that will translate into curriculum and classroom practices. ReMSTEP was funded by the Office of Learning and Teaching. As part of this project processes have been developed to link PSTs with research scientists to: a) develop curriculum resources, and b) trial these resources in schools, sometimes alongside scientists and teachers. The team is working with scientists from the ‘Golden Mile’ of bio-science adjacent to the University of Melbourne, researchers from the Deakin Institute of Frontier Materials, and from the Melbourne Museum. The Geelong based Skilling the Bay project draws on ReMSTEP activities, local industry and university staff and students to improve engagement and retention of students in STEM through capacity building of teachers.
The project outputs include:
- the development of sustainable processes through which STEM and Education faculties and institutions can collaborate around teacher education,
- ways of linking PSTs and teachers with STEM researchers to develop ways of incorporating contemporary research and development into school science and mathematics
- education products exemplifying contemporary STEM practice through inquiry and problem solving classroom pedagogies, and
- the development of course structures aimed at improvements in recruiting and educating STEM teachers.
ReMSTEP at Deakin has been developing a framework to describe a variety of productive interactions between pre-service teachers, science educators, and STEM professionals, and the learning that arises from these.
This IFM module has arisen from interactions between scientists and engineers at the Deakin Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), academics from education, science, and engineering, teachers, pre-service teachers, and students. In particular, the module arose from a collaboration between ReMSTEP and the Victorian node of ASELL for Schools.
ASELL for Schools works with school teachers and students to develop and improve school laboratory learning activities. ASELL for Schools is a national project with eight universities across several jurisdictions, and is funded under the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program (ASMPP). ASELL is continuing to run workshops and activities in every Australian state and territory.
ASELL for Schools aims to:
1. design laboratory learning activities and associated resources that integrate expertise from Science, Engineering and Education in supporting a holistic consideration of all three strands (SU, SIS, SHE) of the Australian Curriculum: Science;
2. support the differing needs of the diverse science teaching community, including Indigenous, migrant, low SES and rural;
3. generate professional conversations, enabling science teachers to utilise an evaluation framework in adapting science laboratory learning activities to their local contexts and to share with others;
4. develop Teacher Scholars who work with scientists, educators, and engineers in capitalizing on laboratory learning activities in their teaching, schools and professional communities;
5. facilitate professional dialogues within the broader community including connecting teachers, scientists, engineers and teacher educators.
As part of the ReMSTEP collaboration the Victorian node of ASELL for Schools has a strong focus on contemporary science practices, and students constructing representations as part of scientific inquiry. Other ASELL nodes have focused on inquiry, scientific literacy and mathematical skills in science. Most recently, the Victorian node of ASELL has started a partnership with the Australasian Corrosion Association Foundation, with a focus on corrosion, surface science, and electrochemistry.