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Title: The Mentoring Network of K-5 Educators and Engineering Researchers in an RET
Elementary school is the first opportunity most students have to learn about STEM; however, elementary teachers are sometimes the least confident and prepared to teach STEM concepts and practices. Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs are an established form of K-12 teacher professional development in which teachers are invited to work as members of a laboratory research team to increase their enthusiasm, knowledge and experience in STEM fields. The Engineering for Biology: Multidisciplinary Research Experiences for Teachers (MRET) of Elementary Grades was a 7-week summer program in which teachers were embedded as contributing members of engineering laboratory research teams and was established with the goals of (1) increasing teacher knowledge of STEM concepts and practices, (2) fostering mentoring relationships among researchers and teachers in each laboratory, and (3) guiding the translation of the teachers’ laboratory experience into the classroom through the development of STEM learning units. This exploratory study focuses on the second goal, and involves the use of developmental network theory to discriminate mentoring among participants within the summer 2017 and 2018 cycles of MRET. Using data collected in daily observations as well as daily activity and conversation logs submitted by all participants during the lab experience, post participation surveys, and post program semi structured interviews, we have characterized a network of mentoring that existed within the lab portion of MRET as being multidirectional and potentially beneficial to all members, including researchers as well as teachers. This finding challenges the currently accepted assumption that teachers are the primary beneficiaries of mentoring within RET programs. If demonstrated to be appropriate and transferrable to the RET context, such a perspective could enhance our understanding of the experience and be used for maximizing the outcomes for all participants.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1711543
NSF-PAR ID:
10142792
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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