Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Page: 2874 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2021.0717
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The new educational law and reforms in Spain state that in 7th grade students must learn by combined fields, that is, grouping more than one subject together. The most common combination, given the interdisciplinary character of mathematics, is combining mathematics with technology or biology. Although learning through a combination of fields has proven to be an effective strategy in remedial courses for 9th and 10th graders and also basic vocational training in Spain, many teachers do not think this approach is suitable for ordinary 7th graders. In this work the opinions of 15 secondary mathematics teachers regarding this issue are analysed. 7 individual semi-structured interviews and two discussion groups with four teachers in each of them were carried out. The qualitative information obtained through these methods was analysed by means of qualitative content analysis. Results suggest that mathematics teachers are quite reluctant regarding the STEM approach for conventional 7th graders. They state that their subject of expertise is Mathematics, not biology or technology. They point at the fact that it is not a matter of difficulty regarding lack of knowledge in other subjects different of Mathematics, but a matter of teaching strategies, deep learning and expertise in the field. Of those who had already taught in the current 2020-2021 school year through this STEM approach, many of them highlighted the fact that they did not feel comfortable with it. In this sense, almost all of them indicated that the STEM approach was not appropriate and that it didn’t make sense regarding the high requirements of specialization in mathematics they had been required professionally through the years. Moreover, they highlighted the fact that it was not beneficial for students, as many of them thought that students’ lack of key mathematics contents could go unnoticed in a determinant course as 7th grade if technology or biology had to be considered when calculating the students’ average mark. The main conclusion is that mathematics teachers do not consider the STEM approach as appropriate for ordinary 7th graders in Spain and that the previous organization of the curriculum in which mathematics were not taught in combination with other subjects was much more suitable.
Mathematics, STEM, 7th grade, Spain.