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ERIC Number: ED555324
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-9170-5
Examining Teacher Mental Models for the Implementation of a STEM-Focused Curriculum Paradigm in Engineering and Technology Education
Kerr, Janel M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Idaho
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of mental models in Idaho's Engineering and Technology Education teachers' in decision making when faced with major curriculum changes. Senge (1990) defined mental models as, "deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action" (p. 8). The specific change investigated was a curricular transition from an Industrial Technology focus to an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM). As this process began, many concerns and differing viewpoints were expressed by all stakeholders, however reasoning for the resistance was unclear. Additionally, a plan to increase understanding and expand communication between all stakeholders to aid this transition process was developed through recommendations for practice at multiple levels. Positive aspects of the curriculum change, and barriers to the successful implementation of the new curriculum, were identified. This quantitative study, utilized data collected through a multi-modal survey, and analyzed through exploratory factor analysis, supported by open-ended response items. Following the National trend moving away from an Industrial Technology focus to a STEM-focused model, the Idaho State Division of Professional-Technical Education required a change to one of four STEM-focused curriculums for all Engineering and Technology Education programs. Selecting one of the four curriculum packages was necessary in 2012 for each program to retain a positive, active status in the state, as well as funding for program support (Idaho State Division of Professional-Technical Education, 2011b). Without the active status, programs will not be eligible for funding, and students will be unable to participate in the Technology Student Association (TSA) at a state or national level. This study provided teachers an opportunity to express their deeper assumptions and understandings of this transition and implementation process through mental models, as individual representations of the system of change. The investigator as a researcher and teacher educator began to develop an understanding of the challenges that each teacher faces in his/her particular context and district through these models. Once these challenges were articulated, both the change process and the mental modeling of participants could be addressed in a manner that is beneficial to many stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, the Idaho State Division of Professional-Technical Education and the Engineering and Technology Education teacher education program. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Idaho