Activities

How the outcomes were achieved

Science and mathematics specialist pathways

New specialist pathways in Mathematics and Science were created within the Master of Teaching (Primary) course structure at the University of Melbourne, allowing students to focus on these areas from their first year

Contact

Dr Melody Anderson, University of Melbourne.

Responds to ReMSTEP innovation(s):

3

Maths and Science teaching specialisations within ITE primary programs.

Key points

  • Program structuture enhanced to provide maths and science specialisations in collaboration with Science department
  • First cohort of pre-service teachers with a specialisation graduated in 2016

The ReMSTEP project enabled the University of Melbourne’s Master of Teaching (Primary) program to create specialist pathways in Mathematics and Science, in which pre-service teachers undertake dedicated study in those fields. These pathways are designed for those who have a relevant study or employment experience and/or a strong interest in teaching these subjects. Entry is competitive, and was first offered in semester 2, 2014.

You have to talk about [STEM], you have to read about it to make sense of it. For these students, we assume or expect they know what STEM is. So once we have those definitions then we can start talking to them about planning for the teaching of STEM. And that planning, which is the centre for any good lesson, is absolutely critical to know where the learning opportunities are for your students. So you have to plan in great detail… and it is hard work and time-consuming work for the beginner teacher.

Dr Christine Redman, Chair of the Capstone experience at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Prior to the ReMSTEP project, the 200-credit-point MTeach program required study of 25 points of mathematics education subjects and 12.5 points of science education, but had no specialist pathways. To create these specialisations, existing units were changed and a new elective was created, resulting in a minimum of 50 points in mathematics or science.

Graduating with a Mathematics specialisation requires completing:

  • A clinical assessment in Professional Practice and Seminar 2,
  • An extension to Primary Mathematics 2,
  • A Maths-focused literature review and project proposal in Researching Education Practice,
  • A Science project within Designing Personalised Learning,
  • An extension to Primary Mathematics Education 3,
  • A Maths elective in Semester 4, and
  • The Maths Capstone of the Education Research Project, which they are given preferential entry to,

For a total of 66.25 credit points.

Master of Teaching (Primary) Maths Specialisation
Sem 1 Prof Practice and Seminar (1) 6.25 points Learners, Teachers and Pedagogy 12.5 points ICT in Primary Education 6.25 points Foundational English Literacy 12.5 points Primary Mathematics Education 12.5 points
Sem 2 Prof Practice and Seminar (2) 12.5 points Assess for Teaching 6.25 point Primary Maths 2 Extension 6.25 points Primary Arts Education 12.5 points Advanced English Literacies 6.25 points Primary Humanities Education 6.25 points
Sem 3 Prof Practice and Seminar (3) 12.5 points* Social and Profession Contexts 6.25 points Health and Physical Education 6.25 points Science and Technology Education 12.5 points Research Education Practice 12.5 points
Sem 4 Prof Practice and Seminar (4) 6.25 pts Designing Personal Learning 6.25 points Literacy Assess and Learn 6.25 points Primary Maths 3 Extension 6.25 points Elective 12.5 points Research Education Practice 12.5 points

Pink highlight indicates Maths content units

* 30% of the assessment dedicated to a Clinical Praxis Exam with a Maths Focus

Graduating with a Science specialisation requires completing:

  • A clinical assessment in Professional Practice and Seminar 2,
  • Completing the elective Science and Technology in Practice,
  • A Science-focused literature review and project proposal in Researching Education Practice,
  • A Science project within Designing Personalised Learning,
  • A Science elective in Semester 4, and
  • The Science Capstone of the Education Research Project, which they are given preferential entry to.

For a total of 68.75 credit points.

Master of Teaching (Primary) Science Specialisation
Sem 1 Prof Practice and Seminar (1) 6.25 points Learners, Teachers and Pedagogy 12.5 points ICT in Primary Education 6.25 points Foundational English Literacy 12.5 points Primary Mathematics Education 12.5 points
Sem 2 Prof Practice and Seminar (2) 12.5 points Assess for Teaching 6.25 point Primary Maths Education (2) 6.25 points Primary Arts Education 12.5 points Advanced English Literacies 6.25 points Primary Humanities Education 6.25 points
Sem 3 Prof Practice and Seminar (3) 12.5 points* Social and Profession Contexts 6.25 points Health and Physical Education 6.25 points Science and Technology Education 12.5 points Research Education Practice 12.5 points
Sem 4 Prof Practice and Seminar (4) 6.25 pts Designing Personal Learning 6.25 points Literacy Assess and Learn 6.25 points Primary Maths Education (3) 6.25 points Elective 12.5 points Research Education Practice 12.5 points

Pink highlight indicates Science content units

* 30% of the assessment dedicated to a Clinical Praxis Exam with a Science Focus

Figure 1. Specialisation requirements and sample program

To gain entry into these specialisations, applicants are chosen on the basis of previous study, employment, or other experience in the field. Their results in Primary Mathematics Education, a compulsory first-year subject, are also examined.

In 2015, a new elective was introduced: Science and Mathematics in the Classroom, focusing on the integration of STEM ideas into the primary classroom environment.

Cooperation between the Science and Education departments at the University of Melbourne was essential to the development of these specialisations, and partnerships were also developed with a range of research centres, including the Victorian Space Science Education Centre and the Gene Technology Access Centre.

I think a great part of it has been working across faculties within the University. To strengthen our programs with the inputs from our science and mathematics faculties, and... to work cross-collaboratively with other institutions to be able to gain some small view of how things are done in other faculties… was great.

Dr Melody Anderson, program coordinator

In 2016, one-third of graduates from the Master of Teaching (Primary) graduated with a Mathematics or Science specialisation. From 2017, in line with new AITSL standards, all graduates in this program will specialise in one of eight fields. The ReMSTEP project laid the groundwork for the creation of these specialisations.

Learn more

For more analysis download the Survey Findings report.

Download report - 74kb pdf

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