Ninety per cent of Canadian teachers surveyed for a newly published report believe STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills and knowledge are important to students' future education, careers and being informed citizens.
An even higher number – 94 per cent of teachers – agree there is room to improve their own STEM and digital skills, and less than half say they have the confidence to teach digital and technology skills and knowledge.
When asked what barriers they face to STEM and digital skills professional development, half of teachers said there are too few opportunities available, and that time and cost also stand in their way.
The report, based on a survey by Abacus Data of 507 grades 1-9 teachers across Canada, was commissioned by Actua, Canada’s largest STEM youth outreach network representing 41 university and college-based members.
The survey also found that 39 per cent of women teachers are more likely to say they lack confidence in their ability to teach digital and technology skills compared to 19 per cent of men teachers who feel that way.
Teachers with no STEM component or focus in their pre-service education are more likely to say they lack confidence to teach digital and technology skills (41 per cent) than teachers who do have a STEM education background (31 per cent).
Actua president and CEO Jennifer Flanagan says the survey results indicate a need to develop and distribute high-quality and accessible online STEM and digital skills development opportunities for teachers across Canada.
“Now more than ever, our world is relying on STEM professionals to solve our greatest challenges. In order to have a next generation of innovators ready to do the same, our teachers need to be empowered with the proper training and support to make it possible,” she adds.
Advertising feature produced Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.