Guide to creating inclusive STEM classrooms launched

Tuesday, 13 October, 2020

Guide to creating inclusive STEM classrooms launched

A new online research-informed guide hopes to support schools and educators to positively engage students in STEM and address current gender disparities.

The guide has been launched by Education Services Australia (ESA) in support of the Australian Government vision for a society that provides equal opportunity for people of all genders to learn, work and engage in STEM. The government has advanced its vision through a national coordinated approach outlined in the Advancing Women in STEM 2020 Action Plan.

ESA says gender-inclusive teaching and learning environments offer inspiration for all students — not only girls and young women — allowing them to engage more deeply with STEM and see themselves as successful STEM learners and future leaders.

The government engaged ESA to develop the Girls in STEM Toolkit (GiST) website to encourage school-aged girls’ participation in STEM activities, subject selection and to understand the diverse range of STEM careers available to them. The GiST was launched in September 2019.

The new guide is based on The Girls in STEM Toolkit’s Seven Principles for a gender-inclusive learning environment research, in which teachers identified the use of Seven Principles as a basis for a range of purposes.

ESA engaged the University of Adelaide to undertake further research to support classroom application of the Seven Principles, with suggested practical strategies and contemporary resources for teachers’ use to then create engaging and inclusive STEM classrooms.

Dr Rebecca Vivian, Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, said that jobs of today and the future increasingly require people with STEM skills, yet research shows that STEM uptake and confidence is low among many Australian students.

“This guide presents practical evidence-based strategies and resources that teachers can use to turn the GiST Seven Principles for a gender-inclusive classroom into one where all learners have the potential to thrive in STEM,” Dr Vivian said.

Andrew Smith, CEO of Education Services Australia, said the guide will have a transformative impact for educators and students.

“Supporting teachers to create inclusive STEM learning environments and increase participation in STEM activity by girls is imperative to inspire more girls and women to enter fields of study and careers in STEM,” Smith said.

For more information, visit The GiST website here.

Image credit: © Business

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