Wang, H. and Knobloch, N. (2020). Preservice educators’ beliefs and practices of teaching STEM through agriculture, food, and natural resources. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(2), 57-76. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.02057
Teaching integrative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is gradually moving into agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR) education. Numerous researchers have emphasized that educators’ beliefs are at the heart of framing effective educational practices. Although integrated STEM teaching and learning literature is growing, little research has focused on how preservice educators’ beliefs inform integrated STEM through AFNR practices. By conducting an interpretivist, multiple-case study, the purpose of this study was to explore how preservice educators’ beliefs and practices of their integrated STEM through AFNR lesson plans and instruction. The preservice educators’ beliefs of integrated STEM through AFNR lessons showed three stages of development: (1) preconceived stage, (2) broadened horizons stage, and (3) perceived reality stage. The findings revealed preservice educators have similar beliefs as science teachers in regard to learning outcomes when using integrated STEM approaches. Further, preservice educators designed integrated STEM lessons using AFNR content, in which they were most familiar. Finally, the perceived reality phase was the most challenging for preservice educators because they needed to transition their integrated STEM through AFNR views from being broad to how they could concretely facilitate meaningful integrated learning experiences for their students.