The year 2020 has offered many opportunities for reflection, learning and growth. In June, the STEM Council was honored to host a virtual workshop on Equity in the STEM Classroom, facilitated by Aris Winger, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Mathematics Enrichment for Diversity and Learning (MEDAL).
The workshop quickly reached the maximum capacity with 100 participants who completed pre- and post-workshop surveys that consisted of the same six questions. After completing the workshop, participants were more confident in fostering equity and having the necessary skills to foster equity in the STEM classroom, had better understanding how STEM culture may clash with students’ personal experiences and were more aware about how race, gender and biases may impact teaching. A statistical analysis of the data shows that the average responses of participants after completing the workshop is different than the responses of participants before the workshop for all six questions.
One participant shared, “The open discussion helped shed a light on social bias and stereotypes. The workshop reinforced the value of building relationships with students. Small group breakout sessions helped personalize the information presented by Dr. Winger.” Others said they were more likely to take this type of course via distance format, that the stage was set for a safe learning space and the workshop inspired self-reflection on tough topics.
Overall, 79 percent of participants who completed the survey said they would recommend this professional development workshop to others and 78 percent would like to attend more professional development opportunities on this topic.
Equity in STEM is one of the top priorities of Iowa’s STEM Council with an active working group set to bring forth additional strategies at the Council’s fall convening.