Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology


Taylor & Francis


School of Education




Hatisaru, V., Falloon, G., Seen, A., Fraser, S., Powling, M., & Beswick, K. (2023). Educational leaders’ perceptions of STEM education revealed by their drawings and texts. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 54(8), 1437-1457.


This study explored school principals' and teacher educators' perceptions of STEM education based on how they described STEM as a discipline, their understanding of the nature of teaching and learning of STEM, and the capabilities of a STEM-educated person. Data were generated through the Draw a STEM Learning Environment (D-STEM) instrument comprising drawn and written descriptions where participants drew a picture of a STEM learning environment and completed five prompt statements about what STEM is and how an individual develops personal STEM capability. The Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) specialization codes were used for data analysis (198 individual response items in total) to understand how the participants perceive STEM education. Almost half the participant responses indicated knowledge-code perceptions with a smaller but significant number (approximately a third of responses) indicating knower-code perceptions. The remaining responses showed élite-code perceptions, indicating a small proportion of participants valued the development of both disciplinary knowledge/practices and generic skills/attributes in STEM education. We posit that curriculum structure and reporting requirements influence these perceptions. Further research in relation to the influence of such understandings on enacted curriculum is warranted.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.