Teachers 'n Training (TNT)

Program Type

Teacher Development/Training

Target Audience

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8

 Promising link

Program Impact

Results from a first-year pilot found that pre-service elementary teachers who participated in the Teachers n Training (TNT) program felt a greater sense of self-efficacy and comfort about teaching STEM subjects and more positive science interests and attitudes.


Program Overview

The Teachers ’n Training (TNT) program helps prospective teachers improve their comfort level and competence to teach STEM concepts. Teacher candidates engage in meaningful experiences with STEM professionals who help them develop and implement inquiry-based STEM lessons in an informal setting.

The Teachers n Training (TNT) program is a collaborative series of immersion experiences and teaching opportunities for pre-service teachers designed to increase their ability, comfort level and competence to teach STEM concepts. Teacher candidates engage in meaningful experiences with STEM professionals who guide them in the development and implementation of inquiry-based STEM lessons in an informal setting.

Helping students achieve STEM literacy requires a sufficient supply of high-quality teachers. Many elementary teachers, however, lack sufficient science content knowledge, hold negative attitudes toward science and science teaching, and have low science teaching self-efficacies.

The Teachers n Training program aims to overcome these barriers. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville created a three-week summer program to provide pre-service, K–8 teachers with a STEM teaching experience in an informal learning environment. Pre-service teachers work with university staff and faculty to create and implement innovative STEM lessons.

In the first week of the program, pre-service teachers are introduced to science content used in the university’s summer camp, as well as research and best practices in STEM teaching and learning, with an emphasis on inquiry-based and problem-centered approaches. In week two, the pre-service teachers are paired with a cooperating camp teacher. They observe and assist with camp instruction and work with their cooperating teacher and TNT mentors to plan a lesson that is implemented and videotaped during week three. TNT mentors review the videotaped lesson with the pre-service teachers, discussing the successes and challenges. Pre-service teachers also assess their own areas of strengths and weaknesses, and develop a mini-portfolio that documents their lesson and the reasons for their instructional decisions.

The preliminary findings will be used to expand the program to include the university’s summer engineering camp and, possibly, include TNT as field experience for a science methods course. Ideally, the program could seed a new STEM elementary education certificate program. 

Funders and Partners

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education
The Boeing Company


Dawn Olive

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.