If you haven’t seen the movie, Like Mike, watch this movie trailer. As you see in the movie, Calvin got Air Jordan shoes to be able to play on a NBA team just like Michael Jordan. Now take this same idea and apply it to K-12 education.
What should we expect if we simply give teachers equipment? If schools provide teachers with STEM resources and equipment, such as a 3D printer, robots, Scratch, arduinos, and a Makey Makey, shouldn’t we see teachers making slam dunks in the classrooms? Since all of this equipment has been purchased, one would expect their students to be designing like engineers and coding like programmers, right?
Wrong! While I think it is great to provide all of these wonderful resources for teachers to use with their students, it is only the first step. Just like in basketball, providing the shoes, uniform, and facility is the first step for a basketball player to get prepared to play well on the court. Basketball players also need practice and feedback from their coach. They need their coach to break plays down for them so they can start running plays to be able to compete in games. All of this takes a plan and time to work the plan.
So what should be done to help teachers improve their game? They need the same things. Teachers need coaches; people who can model for them what STEM teaching and learning looks like and help them design STEM lessons and units and then receive feedback when they teach their students. Teachers also need to observe other exemplary STEM teachers and network with them.
So take a look at your school and determine if you have purchased equipment and resources for your teachers and expect magic to happen?
Remember, the shoes don’t dunk the basketball; it is the athlete that makes it happen. Develop your teachers like good basketball programs develop their athletes!