Science, ICT and mathematics as curriculum priorities in primary schools: What are the practices and needs of beginning primary teachers?
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This study was formulated within the context of an increasing recognition nationally of science, technology and mathematics education as curriculum priorities in primary schools. Recent graduates of a pre-service primary education program that had an emphasis on innovation and ‘best practice’ in science, ICT and mathematics education were surveyed to ascertain their teaching practices in science, ICT and mathematics, and their professional development needs within these three learning areas. Graduates within their first four years of teaching were asked to complete a written response, short answer questionnaire focused on: regularly used teaching practices, curriculum planning influences, professional development endeavours, formal or informal curriculum leadership roles or influences, and views of professional development needs. The responses (N=55) indicated: individual and class student learning needs and achievement levels, along with guiding curriculum documents were a major influence on curriculum planning and teaching practices; lack of appropriate resources impacted upon teaching particularly for ICT and science; science was receiving relatively little attention within overall school curricula and teachers had received little or no professional development in science; and resources and personalised professional development and support were seen as the greatest needs in efforts to enhance science, ICT and mathematics teaching.
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