Tag: teachers

Is tech just for boys?

The gender stereotypes of parents and teachers play a large role in putting young girls off careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) careers, a study has found.

The study found 53 per cent of girls in secondary school drop Stem subjects due to pressure from parents. Two thirds of girls surveyed (65 per cent) said their parents and teachers were the main influence over what subjects and career choices they made.

One third of parents and teachers (29 per cent) polled said they view Stem subjects and careers “as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies”.

When discussing attitudes to science and tech careers, 82 per cent of girls said they wanted a career where they could help people, and did not see how a future in a Stem field could achieve that.

The research found the more extra-curricular Stem events or school day trips girls attended, the more likely they were to take at least two Stem subjects at Leaving Cert level such as science subjects or technical graphics. Out of girls who attended three or more Stem events or trips, 30 per cent chose to do two or more science or technology subjects for their Leaving Cert.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the research provided “much-needed insight into the under-representation of girls and women in Stem education and careers”.

He said addressing the lack of women and girls in science, engineering, tech and maths fields was a priority to be addressed.

The research involved 3,000 Irish students, parents and teachers who were questioned earlier this year. The survey was carried out by consulting firm Accenture Ireland and iWish, a Cork-based advocacy group involved in encouraging young girls to enter science and tech fields.

Co-founder of iWish Ruth Buckley said the research “points to the significant role that teachers can play as a gateway to Stem careers”. She said that “giving teachers and girls knowledge, information and access is key, we cannot leave girls’ inclusion to chance, we need to have a consistent and systematic focus on Stem through our education system”.

The report made several recommendations on how to increase the engagement of young girls with Stem careers. These include helping parents educate themselves on the subjects, and providing additional training and information to teachers on Stem careers so they can better inform students about potential opportunities in the field.

Source: www.irishtimes.com

Office Depot has announced the results of an educator productivity survey whose findings uncovered the minimum cost of US teacher time spent researching and buying supplies for their classrooms is more than half a billion dollars.

“We are proud to partner with public and private schools around the country to reduce educators’ out-of-pocket expenses and time spent sourcing classroom supplies through our classroom enablement programs and print services instructional materials solutions.”

The non-profit Center for College & Career Readiness and Office Depot’s Committed to Learning initiative recently surveyed more than 2 800 educators regarding purchasing and researching needed supplies for use in the classroom.

An average teacher’s salary is more than $55,000 per year (roughly $26 per hour) and there are more than 3.5 million full- time teachers in the US, therefore based upon the results of the survey, the costs of researching and purchasing classroom supplies could reach over $500 million.

A few key findings from the survey:

  • Nearly 70% of respondents indicated that a central purchasing hub would save time and money when buying classroom supplies;
  • 42% of the educators surveyed reported purchasing classroom supplies every month;
  • More than 30% indicated they spend more than 10 hours every year researching and buying supplies for the classroom; and
  • 50% of the educators surveyed preferred to purchase classroom supplies online.

Office Depot partners with school districts from Connecticut to California to bring strategic planning expertise and a team of education experts to help plan, produce and deliver classroom materials, allowing educators to save time in the classroom. Through www.officedepot.com, educators have access to an easy-to-use central purchasing hub that helps with streamlining buying decisions.

“These survey findings show the increased demand for educator support when it comes to researching and purchasing classroom supplies,” said Becki Schwietz, senior director of growth strategies for Office Depot.“We are proud to partner with public and private schools around the country to reduce educators’ out-of-pocket expenses and time spent sourcing classroom supplies through our classroom enablement programs and print services instructional materials solutions.”

Office Depot collaborates with school districts and other educational institutions through the company’s Committed to Learning initiative, which offers educators access to a national team of curriculum and instruction experts across disciplines. Through the Committed to Learning initiative, the company partners with school districts to meet their strategic goals by providing instructional solutions and access to experts that enrich the learning experience in the areas of personalized learning, project-based learning and innovative learning spaces, culture and wellness, instructional resources, and supplies.

Peeved teachers have had it with forking out for pupils’ stationery.

Several of them have taken to Facebook ahead of the reopening of schools, Netwerk24 reported.

A teacher at a rural school says in the past she’s often paid for stationery herself, but no more.

“The parents expect the school or teacher to provide it and if I don’t give them a pen or pencil, the pupils won’t have anything to write with.”

She has 45 pupils in her class, 15 of whom buy some or all of their own stationery.

Lending pencils to pupils also isn’t an option.

“Some pupils literally chew up a pencil within two days.”

Pupils must ‘work hard’ for pens

She said most of the parents are unemployed and don’t have any money for stationery. She’s spoken to them, “but they don’t do anything about it”.

Stationery does not come cheap. Even for a learner in Grade 0 it could cost around R370.

A teacher at a farm school has also had enough.

“I spent about R900 per term, but no more.”

She doesn’t know what she’ll do with pupils who don’t have stationery. “I’ll probably give in… but it’s not as if teachers get good salaries.”

A teacher at a school in a poor area says he’s managed to get sponsors for pens, but “the pupil must work hard for it and gets only one pen”.

National Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says provincial departments are responsible for providing stationery to state-funded schools. It varies between schools and provinces, but each pupil will get the “minimum basic items”.

The deputy head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, Dr Jaco Deacon, says the quality of the stationery at times is poor.

Limited school budgets

Article 21 schools that have opted out of the centralised provincial purchasing system have to buy the stationery themselves from money allocated to them by the province.

Some of that money must also go towards water, electricity, maintenance and textbooks.

Schools are only allowed to spend a certain percentage of the money on books and after those have been paid for, little is left for stationery.

Deacon said stationery should be covered by the school fees parents are expected to pay.

The school’s budget is approved by parents at a meeting at the end of the year.

Deacon said parents should attend and ask if all the items on the list are essential. Every item should be justified.

In Gauteng, the stationery needed for a Grade 0 pupil at Northmead Primary School in Benoni costs R370.

The 22 items needed include scissors of a specific size, chalk, plastic bags, a wooden puzzle, a stick of glue, water paint and a colouring-in book.

At Pierneef Primary School in Pretoria, a Grade 1 pupil’s stationery costs R440. The 32 items include a skipping rope.

Grades 4 to 7 pupils at Voorpos Primary School need, among other things, a dictionary and mathematics and oil pastel sets.

By Jeanne-Marié Versluis for Netwerk24

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