Teachers’ spatial skills across disciplines and education levels: Exploring nationally representative data.

SCIENTIFIC Teachers’ skills and attitudes in a specific domain can influence students’ learning in that domain. Here we focused on spatial skills, which are important for learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Fostering students’ spatial skills may rely on teachers’ comfort in implementing spatially demanding activities in the classroom. This study used nationally representative data from Project TALENT to examine the spatial skills of high school students who later became preschool to high school teachers (n = 4,428 teachers). Results showed that secondary STEM teachers had stronger spatial skills than secondary non-STEM teachers (by 0.5 standard deviations) and preschool and primary teachers (by 0.8 standard deviations). These differences remained substantial even after accounting for differences in general intelligence and gender distributions. These results suggest the need for research on how teachers’ spatial skills impact students’ spatial skills and STEM learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)