The Emerging Role of Science Teachers in Fostering STEM Career Awareness

Carolyn Cohen, Davis G. Patterson, Dina N. Kovarik, Jeanne Ting Chowning


Understanding how high school students become aware of STEM career options, how educators can help students translate awareness into pursuit of STEM careers, and how to provide students with the support and skills they need to succeed, are crucial elements in ensuring the future of our STEM workforce. One important factor is the role that high school science teachers can play in fostering STEM career interest and awareness. As part of our study, we conducted interviews and focus groups with over 70 high school science teachers and other science and career education experts. Teachers’ reflections on their inclinations and abilities to make connections between science lessons and potential careers revealed an increasingly important role for science teachers in fostering student motivation to enter STEM careers. Our inquiry revealed teaching strategies with the potential to engage students in learning about STEM careers, as well as implications for broader policy and practice.

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