We have been hearing a lot about STEM lately. What is STEM? and What’s the fuss about this program?
STEM is not really classified as a program but more of a curriculum. STEM follows a similar structure to that of the IB curriculum in that it follows an interdisciplinary and applied approach to education as opposed to theoretical. In other words, subjects are interlaced and cross-curricular as opposed to being taught as separate.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific subjects which stand for its acronym:
STEM integrates these subjects and applies them to real-world, practical situations. The focus of the creation of STEM in 2009 (with the Obama administration) surfaced due to two reasons. The first reason being that According to the U.S. Department of Education, fewer students were interested in these disciplines (only 16%) and many students were not adequately prepared to pursue careers in STEM. The second reason being the demand of people needed to fill jobs relating to STEM is on the rise . Students must, therefore, be provided with the adequate training and preparation to gain an interest in these disciplines and feel confident in pursuing them.
The problem is not unique to the USA, the UK also reports that they will have to graduate 100,000 STEM majors every year until 2020 just to meet demand
The question is, is STEM good for our children? While it is clearly done with the intention of filling future employment vacancies that will arise, the answer is YES.
STEM has an overall good portrayal because as opposed to the traditional learning method, it provides blended learning. In other words, it shows students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life it focuses on the real world applications of problem-solving. Moreover, the overall goal of STEM is to pique students’ interest into them wanting to pursue the courses, not because they are obligated to. In addition, STEM focuses on bridging in-school and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities in order to relate them to real world problem solving.
It is imperative to note that STEM education commences rather early in Elementary school and it is emphasized all the way until high school where STEM-related careers are discussed.
The STEM curriculum also aims in attracting underrepresented populations such as female students and student of specific ethnic backgrounds.
Although the STEM curriculum is rather young (inception in 2009) the program has a clear driving force that aims to prepare students for an ever-changing, evolving , competitive world.