A new specialization is being offered to all concurrent education (ConEd) students.
After its approval in April, ConEd students are being equipped with an interdisciplinary view of teaching STEM subjects and hands-on experience through the new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concentration.
“You’re not just doing math or science or literacy. You’re combining everything,” said developer and teacher of the STEM concentration Nenad Radakovic in an interview with The Journal.
ConEd students choose “teachables,” which are subjects they’ll eventually become qualified to teach. Different concentrations are required for ConEd students, each of which focuses on specific teaching methods such as educational leadership, at-risk youth, and social justice. This is a system unique to the Queen’s ConEd program.
“The large picture behind the concentration is to prepare future teachers to be able to teach activities that are interdisciplinary that involve science, technology, engineering, and math, and other subjects including the arts,” Radakovic said.
The specialization will emphasize connections between STEM subjects and topics such as sustainability, Indigenous education, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. Radakovic’s goal is to diversify students’ experience within STEM curriculum to address interdisciplinary problems.
“The great societal problems that we have today [are] around climate change or anything that involves problem solving at work,” Radakovic said.
Currently, there are 29 ConEd students enrolled in the new concentration. Twenty-four students plan to teach at the intermediate and senior level, and five students will become primary and junior teachers.
Radakovic encouraged more ConEd students wanting to teach at the primary or junior level to take the STEM concentration. Activities such as a class garden are applicable for all levels of learning, with students wanting to teach grades one through 10 offered the ability to use them in lesson plans.
The new concentration involves two new courses, a theoretical class called “Understanding STEM Education” and a practical class called “STEM Education.”
There is a three-week practical aspect, which allows students to gain experience outside the classroom with placements at locations including the Science Centre, Desmos, and Number Nine Gardens.
“I think it’s great the Faculty of Education is forming a STEM concentration as there are many teachers entering science and math teachables who would benefit from additional training,” Rachel Bugera, ConEd ’27, said in an interview with The Journal.
“This would allow for us as teachers to create a more diverse learning structure by integrating humanities and arts into STEM while effectively teaching kids about the world around us.”
Bugera expressed interest in the new courses and concentration and said the courses could help orient teachers toward making real world connections in their classroom instruction.
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