When teaching STEM, don’t forget the “soft” sciences.
The need to overhaul America’s approach to teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics has launched an ambitious initiative to reverse our nation’s decline in these areas. Not surprisingly, thought leaders in education indicate the most important ingredient to success is the willingness to change. They agree that it is pointless to continue pursuing methods that haven’t been working and to change the teaching style to fit the learning styles of today’s students and to better prepare them for solving tomorrow’s challenges.
More specifically, educators and academicians at the forefront of improving America’s performance in STEM subjects have approached their task in a way that’s just as logical, practical and evidence-based as the subjects themselves. You can drill down ten pages deep into a search of “STEM,” “successful STEM,” or “STEM classroom” and what you’ll find is study after study that evaluates and recommends pedagogies and teacher qualifications. While adapting those two areas has to be the two most important factors in the success of a STEM program in any school, other adaptations are called for, as well.
Consider the effects the classroom environment will have on the learning process.
To cement a school’s commitment to project-based learning or collaborative learning or cooperative learning, its classroom environments must also change – and change quickly. Environments should be able to be reconfigured “on the fly” throughout the day. This change is necessary to support any new teaching method being instituted.