The reason STEM is such a big focus/ push/ buzz word right now, is not because other areas of education are less important. It has nothing to do with that.
It has everything to do with the fact that future generations have to deal with huge, global problems, that they need STEM skills to do.
As an aside, here they are* :
– Antibiotic resistance
– Climate change
– New energy sources
– Over pollution of the world
– Draughts and limited fresh water
– Over population
Instead, STEM has to do with the fact that students doing engineering courses at university are declining. These are our real world problem solvers and we are producing less of them. This may worry you. Rightly so.
STEM doesn’t mean arts and creativity is not important. On the contrary, any scientist or engineer knows that innovation requires creativity. It does mean however, that we are not talking about literary creativity here, or creativity in the arts. There are different kinds of creativity. In STEM we ask students to solve a problem. There is an absolute need for what they are to construct.
If we start using STEAM. Then why not add languages to it too? We know that speaking two languages changes the brain to be able to better adapt to problem solving and increases working memory. It also decreased problems in later life. Not to mention bilinguals have excellent cultural awareness. So we should then make it STLEAM.
Wait a second? Are we forgetting health? We cannot forget health because without proper sleep, food, exercise and mental wellbeing, we cannot call ourselves healthy human beings.
So it now has to become STLEAMP.
Can you see that it is getting a bit out of hand?
Let’s just agree that right now, there is a need for STEM students.
But we as teachers are educating the child as a whole. And we are not discounting the importance of other areas of education.
* Thank you for indulging my inbuilt scientific need to write lists