Congratulations to the eleven DCU pre-service primary and post-primary teachers that have been selected to participate in the 2018 Dublin City University STEM Teacher Internship programme. Today the eleven DCU students joined with CASTeL PIs and Academic Coordinators of the Programme Eilish McLoughlin and Deirdre Butler to reflect their experiences to date.
“It was the opportunity for new STEM experiences outside the classroom and a chance to apply the STEM process in a corporate environment.”
“This internship has allowed me to expand my knowledge and vocabulary about the competencies and processes that take place in a STEM workforce.”
Academic Coordinator for the programme Eilish McLoughlin, Associate Professor/Director of the CASTeL research centre for STEM Education explained, “The impact of this programme is such that it extends and deepens these teacher’s competences and knowledge of STEM and enhances the teaching and learning of STEM in their classrooms/schools.
Developed in 2016 in partnership with Accenture and the 30% Club, this initiative aims to help novice teachers educate future students about career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM). This year, the programme provides DCU students from both primary and post-primary teacher education programmes with the opportunity to work on innovation project teams alongside STEM professionals such as engineers, analysts, programmers. Through partnership with the Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) group, nine technology leaders Accenture, Intel, AIB, GE, EY, Microsoft, IBM, Vodafone and Virgin Media have partnered with DCU and become host companies for the 2018 programme. DCU plans to expand the programme even further to offer more opportunities in other locations nationwide.
Academic Coordinator for the programme Deirdre Butler, Professor, DCU Institute of Education/CASTeL emphasised that, “engagement in such partnerships is critical as what teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn. The importance of developing teachers’ STEM competences cannot be emphasised enough, especially as teacher quality, not funding, is the determinant factor among conditions that support the performance of the world’s best education systems”.
Research has found that teachers are key influencers of students’ subject choices, second only to parents. Through the internships, pre-service STEM teachers will gain hands-on experience of the many careers and opportunities available within STEM industries. This, in turn, will empower them to inspire future generations of their own students, particularly female students, to engage in STEM subjects and careers.