Transdisciplinarity in STEM Education: A Critical Review

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education garnered significant attention in recent years and has emerged as a key field of research globally. The goal of this article is to offer a critical review of how STEM education and its transdisciplinarity were defined and/or positioned in empirical studies published during the early formulation of the field. In particular, we sought to identify how these studies conceptualize learners and learning and portray the underlying assumptions in light of the macrosystemic discourses that often serve as ideological forces in shaping research and practice of STEM education. We examined 154 peer-reviewed articles published between January 2007 and March 2018 and analysed them along several emergent dimensions: their geo-spatial focus, focal disciplinary areas, methodological and theoretical assumptions, and major findings. Grounded in a critical transdisciplinary perspective, we used critical discourse analysis to identify how macrosystemic and institutionalized forces — overtly and implicitly — shape what counts as STEM education research, including its goals and conceptualizations of learners and learning. Our analysis highlights the need for aesthetic expansion and diversification of STEM education research by challenging the disciplinary hegemonies and calls for reorienting the focus away from human capital discourse.
STEM education, Critical theory, Transdisciplinarity, Discourse analysis
Takeuchi, M. A., Sengupta, P., Shanahan, M. C., Adams, J. D., & Hachem, M. (in press). Transdisciplinarity in STEM education: A critical review. "Studies in Science Education".DOI: 10.1080/03057267.2020.1755802