Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/7888
Title: 
High school teachers’ conceptions of engineers and engineering
Authors: 
Issue Date: 
Dec-2012
Citation: 
Paper presented at the AARE - APERA Joint Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2-6 December 2012
Abstract: 
This paper describes a workshop activity the author has carried out with 80 high school science teachers to enable them to overcome their stereotypical perceptions of engineers and engineering. The activity introduced them to the biographies of prominent women in engineering, and raised their awareness of these female engineers’ contributions to engineering and society. The results showed that the activity was effective in dispelling the participants’ perceptions of engineers as men. For example, the percentage of participants who depicted engineers as men decreased from 96.3% before the intervention to 48.8% after the intervention (p < 0.01). The results also showed that the activity was effective in countering the participants’ perceptions of the nature of engineering jobs. For example, the percentage of participants who portrayed engineers engaged in building or repairing decreased from 70.0% before the intervention to 3.8% after the intervention (p < 0.01). The female engineers featured in this activity cited the role of their parents or teachers in encouraging their pursuit of an engineering career. They held senior positions in academia, government or industry. They acknowledged that they had encouraged difficulties at their workplaces but they also mentioned progress made towards acceptance and equality.
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