by Aireen Babe Monte

As part of the thrust of strengthening the international linkage of the College of Education (CED), the Department of Science and Mathematics Education (DSME) headed by Dr. Amelia T. Buan, invited Dr. Chokchai Yuenyong of the Faculty of Education, Khon Kaen Thailand, as a visiting professor for two weeks from March 4 to 15, 2019. Dr. Josefina M. Tabudlong, the college dean, together with the Chancellor of the institute recognized and supported the importance of such international engagement.

Dr. Yuenyong is an assistant professor in Science education program in KKU, Thailand, vice-president of Science Education Association of Thailand (SEAT). He has a robust record of research experiences and publications across the fields of Science education, STEM, and cultural issues. His visit in MSU-IIT constituted his sharing of expertise and experiences through professorial lecture on STEM education, research collaboration and consultation meeting, curriculum collaboration and consultation meeting, lecture on current trends and research in science education, and workshop on transforming thesis and dissertation onto publishable journal articles.

STEM Education: Conceptualizations and Research Issues and Trends

March 5, 2019 – A public lecture on Conceptualizations and Research Issues and Trends on STEM Education was conducted to jump start the visiting professor’s stint as a lecturer in the college. Over a hundred students of the college of education, the CED-IDS faculty, and public school teachers attended the said lecture.

Dr. Yuenyong started it by the issue of “defining” STEM education in Thailand and how he came up with the conceptualization of STEM Education in Thailand. He noted by citing some references that STEM can be described as teaching and learning of the content and practices of disciplinary knowledge which include science and or mathematics the integration of the practices of engineering design [but not limited to] of relevant technologies.

He further characterized STEM Education as a meta-disciplinary subject that (1) involves the integration of science, technology and mathematics, (2) is student-centered, (3) is collaborative, (4) focused on processes, (5) occurs within the curriculum, and (6) is project based or problem based. Thus, the redefinition of many key concepts proved to be a refreshing idea in approaching the meta-disciplinary subject called STEM.

Finally, the public lecture ended with a summarization by Dr. Buan.

Crash Course in Developing STEM Lesson Plans

On the afternoon of the 5th of March, the faculty of CED-IDS and select graduate school students attended the workshop on developing STEM Lesson Plans. An activity on designing a floating restaurant based on a survey was the event’s highlight. Participants were grouped and they immediately planned out their designs.

Dr. Yuenyong, commented and demonstrated key questioning techniques. Furthermore, he allowed the participants defend their works. Evaluations and revisions on their designs also happened along the way.

The following day, innovative ideas came out to find the context of Iligan City, Philippines being rich in many possible projects that would be potential bases for STEM lessons. Critiquing for improvement also happened. Thus, our lesson exemplars were produced in this crash course engagement. This made Dr. Yuenyong conclude that he and the participants were very productive on that day. He even noted that these lesson plans are somehow ready for publication.

Teaching in the Ph.D. program

Part of Dr. Yuenyong’s visit is to serve as a professor in the college. This was realized as he sat as one of the panel members during the research conceptualizations of the Ph. D. students in their SciEd 300 class. He also served as an external panelist during the master’s students’ theses proposal defenses. Moreover, for two weeks, Dr. Chokchai will be handling classes of the Ph.D. students.

Transforming Thesis and Dissertation into Publishable Journal Articles

Dr.Yuenyong mentored many CED students and alumni on transforming their theses and dissertation papers into publishable journal articles. The workshop was conducted on March 9, 2019 at the Premiere Research Institute of Science and Mathematics.

The workshop basically helped students improved their way of writing as to what a journal should be like. In the end, both the students and the faculty members were challenged by Dr. Yuenyong to submit their research outputs for publication.

Although some participants aired the challenge of the visiting professor having difficulty expressing his ideas in English, they were nevertheless very appreciative of how the speaker mentored and critiqued their papers. Furthermore, many of the participants believed that there is an improvement on their skills on writing a more specific, attainable and publishable journal articles.

Brownbag Discussion of Publishing Research

Dr. Yuenyong also guested the brownbag discussion on March 11, 2019, an activity facilitated by the CED Research Office. Dr. Chokchai challenged the position of the CED, MSU-IIT to improve its research outputs. By not giving up, he reached the top of his career and become an editor for some ISI Scopus Indexed journals and conference proceedings, he shared.

Additionally, the brownbag discussion catered some questions on the consideration of proceedings as publication. Towards the end, the CED Research coordinator, Dr. Imelu G. Mordeno affirmed the position of Dr. Chokchai regarding the challenge of being able to produce more publications in the college. He further encouraged the participants to be more critical in identifying whether the journals published are ISI indexed qualified.

Collaborative Research Consultation

Challenged by the need to produce more research outputs and to incur institute funded researches and projects, the faculty of DSME and IDS held a series of consultative meetings with Dr. Yuenyong to make a big research project about STEM.

The consultative meeting was led by Dr. Manuel Barquilla together with the other faculty members of the DSME and the IDS. The whole research team brainstormed for research ideation. With the help of Dr. Yuenyong, the group was able to come up with a big project to be conducted in Northern Mindanao. It will then be proposed to the institute for funding to help in expanding the knowledge about STEM education in the Philippines.

After the ideation of the research, the sub teams worked on their respective smaller studies to present for critiquing on the later days. It was greatly hoped that the output of the groups will be of great potential.

Curriculum Consultation for the Graduate School

The College of Education Graduate Studies also made use of the opportunity to consult with Dr. Yuenyong about the improvement of the graduate curriculum such that there will be opportunities for graduate students’ and professors’ exchange programs.

The meeting ended on identifying specific strategies on revising the curriculum of DSME graduate courses. Dr. Yuenyong distributed the English version of the Science education program of KKU as reference for the revision.

Hence, the graduate school with the DSME faculty members are hopeful for the realizations of the envisioned improvements of the curriculum. This is a step made for the college all towards a more excellent education in a world-class standard.

Concluding Remarks

The stay of the visiting professor, Dr. Yuenyong, proved to be very helpful not only to the faculty but also for the students, among others. The visit particularly invigorated the faculty and staff of the college, particularly the DSME, to do more research, as evidence of increased number of articles submitted for publication and the crafting of a number of proposals for institute research funding.

The Chairperson of the DSME noted that this is just the beginning. The department, together with the College of Education, look forward to see consistent and regular visits of international professors like Dr. Yuenyong.