Why Science Education and the Importance of STEM Pedagogy in Higher Education

By Richard Von Itter, SED 2016

Science is an ever growing field that constantly pushes students to work in ways not normally found in other content areas. STEM heavily relies on inquiry-based methodology to reinforce different scientific concepts and ideas discussed in class. Ultimately, the magic found in any science class is laboratory work. Unlike other content areas, science allows students to explore what they have learned with hands-on activities. I will always remember my first dissection of a fetal pig in my freshman year of high school. I was able to take what I learned in my biology class and apply it right in front of me. Since coming to college, I have been able to work in multiple labs, ranging from ecology to microbiology, each adding new perspective to science education.

STEM pedagogy is incredibly relevant in higher education. Constantly I find myself working with professors that have had limited training in science pedagogy, meaning they have never been formally trained to teach. While all professors have great background in their content area, they sometimes come short when presenting information to a larger class. For any student, this can be incredibly frustrating.

I believe that STEM professors need to be trained in pedagogy before entering the classroom to ensure students are given ample opportunity to succeed in not only the current class, but future studies. Ultimately, this was the reason why I decided to go into science education. My ultimate goal is to become a professor one day that can not only give students the opportunity to gain knowledge, but understand how to effectively convey information in a way that best facilitates learning.

Richard Von Itter is a senior in the School of Education, majoring in Science Education and Biology