Opening the Pipeline for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Health Education: Perceptions of Teacher Preparatory Program Participants



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It is undeniably obvious that the United States has fallen behind many other industrialized countries in terms of STEM education of its citizenry. While many explanations, rationales, and solutions have been offered in the pursuit of resolution, along with a litany of research into the topic, little research has examined the preconceived notions or perceptions of pre-service teachers; especially of those who have committed to working in high-need schools/districts and with a diverse student population.

The purpose of this research study was to examine how the perceptions of new teachers dictated their teaching styles and potential effectiveness related to understanding and dealing with the unique needs of students of color in high-needs schools. With the understanding that these perceptions play a role in the disproportionate representation of people of color in STEM majors and fields.

Understanding that perceptions play a role in overall academic success was the primary premise of this study, and that it is vital to understand the perceptions of teachers who are obligated to teach the most underrepresented students in the most underserved academic settings. This research study serves as a foundational beginning to the concept of that teacher perceptions have a direct affect on their attitudes toward teaching, communicating, and developing strategies to equip and empower students of color in STEM education can improve the experience for both students and teachers.