There is a misconception about STEM in education. Since the acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, many feel that STEM only focuses on those four subjects. However, this is not the case. While STEM education seeks to improve student engagement with these topics specifically, it also offers benefits in other subjects as well.
In fact, the idea behind STEM is to reveal how the various subjects can work together, including topics that, at first glance, may seem disconnected, like the applied arts, music or even physical sciences. Postgraduate programs, like those offering an Ed.S. Education Degree Specialist in Curriculum Director, for example, teach educators how STEM can positively affect all school subjects and improve student performance.
Rebranding STEM and the Power of STEAM
In order to promote STEM in education in the context of other subjects, some educators now refer to it as STEAM. The A stands for arts in an attempt to include creative subjects. Most would argue, in fact, that creativity — as in the visual arts — is essential for future innovators. World changers like Steve Jobs, founder of Apple; Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft; and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, all earned liberal arts degrees even though they are known for their technology expertise.
The STEM shift, as some call it, restructures grade school education to emphasize curiosity, imagination, problem-solving, creativity, invention and collaboration, which can naturally improve learning, thinking and writing.
The Importance of Questions
STEM seeks to foster curiosity about all topics. Inquiry-based learning, a vital component in many STEM programs, encourages students to experience as they learn. Instead of memorizing facts, students exercise their critical thinking skills as they work through their lessons. Inquiry-based learning fosters scientific curiosity and a deeper understanding of science, which can benefit performance in other subjects.
The process is similar to how an adult learns in an online education specialist degree program: the degree plan lays out course requirements and performance expectations; however, it is the students’ responsibility to push themselves. When the desire to learn is present, people naturally pursue information.
STEM in education plays a critical role in preparing students for careers as adults; however, many misunderstand the goal of STEM. It goes beyond the subjects that make up the acronym. When implemented correctly, STEM incorporates other subjects, like the arts, which helps drive creativity, individuality, critical thinking and independent learning. When STEM is central to well-designed curricula, other subjects benefit.
Teachers and administrators should not restrict students to STEM subjects alone. This narrow approach can isolate students and hinder learning. Instead, teachers and administrators need the training to properly incorporate STEM-centered ideas into classroom curricula without disregarding important subjects like music, art and other creative fields.
Learn more about the Arkansas State Ed.S. Education Degree Specialist in Curriculum Director online program.