Update 2 – February 2020

How has my recent reading, events and conversations influenced my thinking?

Since my last update,  I have undertaken a PG CERT in STEM and have been reading for one of my modules. Much of the reading has been mentioned the gender gap within STEM and the reasons for this. One suggestion to help close the gender gap is that STEM should be available from a young age to encourage the children to explore and gain a deeper understanding into the subjects and their career paths. This can be through learning in the classroom and opportunities to meet those in STEM careers as they are said to provide the best motivation for children.

What’s happening in my enquiry?

Since my last update I have carried out questionnaires with four children at each stage.  The results are as follows:

  • Total number of children participating: 58 (29 Boys, 29 Girls)
  • Total number who like: Science 36, Technology 40, Engineering 26, Maths 26
  • When asked which gender do you see the following careers as:
    • Engineer –  Boy 47, Girl 9, Both 2
    • Computer Programmer  – Boy 33, Girl 23, Both 2
    • Builder – Boy 44,  Girl 12, Both 2
    • Scientist – Boy 32, Girl 22, Both 4
    • Mathematician- Boy 28, Girl 27, Both 3
  • Total numbers when asked if they would consider a STEM Career in the future – Yes 36, No 22
  • Why?
    • I want to be a teacher
    • I want to be a scientist
    • I want to be a train driver
    • I want to do maths
    • I want to be a builder
    • It would be fun
    • Scientists are interesting
    • I’m interested to learn
    • I like technology
    • I want to know what it feels like
    • I don’t know much about STEM
    • I don’t know what to do
    • I’m not sure what jobs there are

These results have shown that within the sample I have surveyed, in the careers mentioned, they seem them very male dominated. Only a handful of children see STEM careers as both genders.

What’s working?

Since my last update, and through carrying out the questionnaires, I have been able to have more meaningful conversations with the children and pick at their reasons for feeling a job is gender specific or why they don’t want to pursue a STEM career.  This project has also acted as a springboard to get myself thinking about what  opportunities for teaching and learning do I want to provide for the children within STEM as they progress through primary school.

What am I not sure about?

The stations set up outside of the classrooms within shared areas are not working for this enquiry, as they have not been fully rolled out yet/the children are not engaging. Therefore I am rethinking how I am going to continue the enquiry. We have our Digital Learning Week next week (24th Feb) where we have 21 visitors from the STEM industry into school to work with our children. I feel that this might change the view towards gender specific jobs and can act as a catalyst for further STEM Activities that I can organise to happen in class especially within the upper stages. In regards to the infant department, I will be discussing areas with the staff in charge of the shared area and see how best we can incorporate STEM in the shared area and their classroom areas.  I feel that the areas do still have a place within my setting but are something that should maybe be set up at the beginning of a session rather than mid way through the year to have the best effect.