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Asia-Pacific STEM Teaching Practices

Ying-Shao Hsu and Yi-Fen Yeh, eds.
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Mary Beth Rollick
, on
This book provides a comprehensive view of key trends in the field of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Its focus is on efforts by researchers in Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. A meta-analysis of the current literature reveals that STEM education has diverse definitions so the first chapter of the book proposes a Curriculum Design Framework whereby an essential component of the design and assessment of a particular STEM program is the clear listing of the goals. 
The book is organized by themes: the potential and trends in curriculum development, the central role of teachers in STEM education, student learning and teaching practices, and assessment of STEM learning. Because the role of teachers is so important, several chapters are devoted to this topic. Chapter 3 offers a theoretical framework to examine and analyze the flexible knowledge needed by teachers. Other chapters look at the benefits and challenges of professional learning communities and professional development for school-wide inquiry-based approaches.
The broad scope of the research cited in this book covers STEM programs at the middle and high school levels as well as a program at the primary school level and offers a framework for building teacher confidence for teaching STEM. It also describes programs that include adaptation strategies to meet the needs of special education students and discusses the benefits and challenges of an arts-integrated STEM approach (STEAM education).
My only disappointment was that most of the examples, discussion, and meta-analyses focused on science and science journals. Only Chapter 8 presented a mathematics focus with an example of a program that used sensors to generate authentic data for students to investigate measures of central tendency. 
This book is an excellent resource for researchers in the area of STEM/STEAM education because it gives foundational information regarding what has been studied. It raises questions about the role of school culture and its effect on STEM programs. Each chapter suggests relevant topics for further research.
This book would also be a valuable reference for educators interested in designing a STEM program. From the view of researchers in Asia and the Pacific, this book offers suggestions for implementing programs, provides frameworks for designing and assessing programs, explores the pedagogical content knowledge teachers need, and provides recommended teaching practices. An extensive listing of references is included at the end of each chapter. 


Mary Beth Rollick is Professor Emerita at Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. She continues to tutor undergraduate students and enjoys helping them to understand the “why” as well as the “how” of mathematics.