The unknown territory of STEM: The perceptions of high school administrators

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Eğitim Bilimleri Bölümü , Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Thesis Language: English


Supervisor: Yaşar Kondakçı


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is an educational approach gained importance in the last decade and became a trendy topic among the educators, policy makers and academicians beginning in the United States of America and spread all over the world. The aim of this study is to investigate the perception of school principals about STEM education who are working in the prominent high schools in the Ankara province in Turkey. The sample is selected from three different school types that are Science High School, Anatolian High School and Anatolian Imam and Preacher High School. In order to understand the perception, experience and role of the school principals regarding STEM education, phenomenology as qualitative inquiry method was used and semi structured interviews were conducted with eleven school principals. For the triangulation of the study, document analysis was carried out. After the data analysis, nine themes emerged under three research questions investigating the perception, experience and role of the school principals. The results of the study showed that there is lack of knowledge, readiness and physical environment as an obstacle towards the implementation of STEM education in those schools. When the results of the study are considered, the implementation of STEM education requires the improvement of physical infrastructure as well as professional development for both teachers and school principals regarding the implementation of STEM education. Yet, there is lack of teacher educators in interdisciplinary sense to prepare teachers for STEM education. Therefore, this policy borrowing issue should be considered again.