Smith, K. L., Rayfield, J., & McKim, B. R. (2015). Effective Practices in STEM Integration: Describing Teacher Perceptions and Instructional Method Use. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(4), 182 - 201. doi: 10.5032/jae.2015.04183
Career and Technical Education (CTE), including agricultural education, has been suggested as a platform for delivering Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) content in secondary classrooms (Stone, 2011). The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe agriculture teachers' perceptions and confidence levels for integrating the four STEM disciplines in agricultural education courses, along with perceptions and use of instructional methods for STEM integration. A stratified random sample (n =280) was drawn from agriculture teachers in three states (N =1,049), one state representing each of the American Association for Agricultural Education regions. Overall, teachers perceived each of the four components of STEM integration as important. Teachers had high levels of confidence in integrating science and mathematics, and reported lower confidence levels for technology and engineering. Although teachers reported spending most of their teaching time in lecture (M = 23.46; SD = 15.34) and ranked lecture first in overall confidence, lecture ranked seventh out of ten in effectiveness for student learning. Differences existed between gender and confidence integrating engineering, and perceptions of instructional method effectiveness. Results of this study suggest stakeholder examination of instructional methods which are most effective at integrating STEM concepts, and investigate how to increase teacher confidence with effective instructional methods for STEM concepts.