Ted Howe remembers the days he taught high school math.
At that time, he had a textbook, eager students and some ideas on how we was going to proceed — but they were skills he taught himself.
Howe, now an associate professor of curriculum studies in Thompson Rivers University’s school of education, and fellow instructors Susan Lidster and Carol Rees are teaching would-be teachers who want to learn new ways to impart science and math to their future students.
After going through the bureaucratic and government steps to create a new program, a process that took them five years, the three instructors have seen a new bachelor of education (secondary) science, technology, engineering mathematics degree created and the first cohort of students now in place.
It’s designed to get away from the silos of teaching into a more holistic style, one based on experiential, project- and inquiry-based teaching — something that is the key ingredient in the new provincial high school curriculum — with partnerships that bring real experiences to the process.
For example, teachers at Brock Middle School worked with scientists at TRU to study water. The aim was to identify where the best place would be to create a community. That meant taking water samples in various areas with their own unique environments.
The samples were tested on campus and the students were brought into that step through laptops — bringing together science, math in the analyses and technology to pull it all together.
“What a great way to switch them on to it,” Howe said of the learning experience.
Rees said the new degree program, which runs for 12 months, is to prepare teachers to create such projects.
She said there are teachers now doing it and the goal is make them aware of opportunities to partner in with faculties at TRU to bring more of a real-life feel to the learning. There are other potential education partners as well, Rees said, like the Big Little Science Centre and the Eureka science camps.
She said it fits with TRU because it meets the university’s educational outreach mandate.
For more information on the bachelor of education (STEM) secondary program, click here.