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While much of the current research focuses on new curricula and strategies to engage students in STEM, there is very little research on what motivates both in-school and out-of-school educators to implement STEM and what increases their confidence in their ability to do so.
Due to the lack of consensus on the definition of inter-related, cross disciplinary STEM education or how to implement truly integrated STEM learning, Afterschool professionals are left feeling confused and lack motivation and confidence to implement STEM in their Afterschool programs. Informing and supporting educators on how to implement integrated STEM correctly and confidently is an essential first step to engaging students in STEM.
Currently, there are no instruments with evidence of validity to gauge motivation and self-efficacy of Afterschool educators specifically focusing on STEM engagement. Until educators become comfortable with guiding their students through the engineering design process, they will be less motivated to plan and implement quality STEM activities.
Therefore, investigating motivation and self-efficacy of Afterschool staff can inform future professional development design and implementation. With such a high emphasis on providing integrated STEM in the out-of-school time, stakeholders, policy makers, and educators should be aware of the foundation of providing maximum learning opportunities in STEM which is teacher motivation and self-efficacy. Therefore, this research has the ability to inform practitioners, stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers about how to motivate Afterschool program staff to effectively provide integrated STEM learning with confidence. Such evidence will help solidify Afterschool STEM learning, as a non-negotiable component of the equation for student STEM education.