Are you a STEM school?

0 comment

Do you remember how you learnt ‘tables’ in schools?

They were recited every day, sometimes had a rhythm. and are now etched in our minds. It was mostly ‘rote learning’, that is learning through repetition, a classic memorization technique.
Although it is the most preferred technique in our education system, in order to help children develop wholly, what we need today is experiential learning through STEM!

Our Indian education system needs a turnaround.
Today, we are living in an era where some of the superficial writing is done by AI and we have reading assistant aids at our disposal. Students are learning coding in schools and are rapidly embracing technology. The new National Education Policy of India (2020-21) has encouraged digitization in schools. But, along with it, it also mentions the need for students to critically think, solve problems, be creative, explore the world with varied lenses and not just write answers to the given questions.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is an approach to learning that integrates these domains into everyday living. It literally means treating math or science as life skills and not as mere subjects. It is beyond facts and formulas.

STEM learning is not just technical but it is also a creative process. It is to create a well-educated talented pool of Gen Next who thinks, explores, and acts in a well-informed manner. In India, science and mathematics have always been the preferred streams giving high chances to growth and employment. But the learning is limited and most of the time, students struggle to apply what they learnt in the real world, indicating weak foundations. This highlights that students are simply learning and not applying and analyzing.

If a student is learning science experiments in the labs but is unable to understand that the same could be observed while cooking, then it indicates a gap. It is necessary to introduce STEM early on and not wait till students enter graduation or beyond. Words like AI, coding, robotics… unheard of a few years ago, now children are ready to use and apply on their own!

How can we bring STEM into the classroom? 

There are a lot of simple yet exciting skills that can be introduced in the classroom, which will allow children to understand and love STEM disciplines.

1. Ask questions: Questions will help students think critically. For example, asking a few generalized questions about the concept taught. How do you think you could apply this concept in your everyday life? The purpose of asking questions is to start a new channel in the brain that tells them that most concepts taught can actually be applied in everyday living!

2. Work together: Learning is maximized with peers. Group discussions, teamwork, creating projects together imparts knowledge and idea exchange. It encourages building relationships, managing emotions while being part of the group. For example, to try asking students to create something alone and then in a group will surely make them think as an individual as well as inculcate working together, which is a strong leadership trait.

3. Think creatively: Bringing creativity in the classroom is a big YES. Math can be learnt through pictures too. STEM is all about letting students know that the water cycle can be learnt in their own homes too. Children learn better by observing and doing. It is about discovering new ways of doing things. Indicating that there are no fixed answers and that there can be multiple ways to see life, solve problems, and situations. Every student can be creative as no idea is silly!

4. Solve problems: Did you know that when we make mistakes… we are problem solving and learning? If education is not teaching children to cope with failures, solve problems, and make decisions, then it is not building wholesome individuals. One of the ways to encourage problem solving in children is to allow them to think out-of-the-box and express themselves in various situations. For example, giving them opportunities in the classroom to choose their favourite learning methods, encouraging them to share what excites them about a particular topic or what they find challenging and why. This will expand their minds and gift them with the skill to approach any situation through various perspectives.

5. Test, take risks, and learn: One of the most essential skills in the STEM approach is to encourage children to be open to experiments, try applying their own ideas, observe their implications, not shy away from feedback and learn from mistakes. STEM also highlights the need to build Emotional Intelligence (EI). Taking risks is not meant for adults only, it is a trait that can be built in children too. By asking youngsters to come forth and share their fears, their challenges, and even failures will let every child know that they are not alone – and from the class topper to the most popular student in class, to the back bencher, everyone has their own set of challenges to deal with.

STEM education is learning by doing. It’s about intelligently using gadgets to innovate and solve real world problems and most importantly using the great human abilities which could never be replaced by any kind of technological advancement. It is to find a balance between the two worlds– the outer technological world and the inner extraordinary human world!

Let us together make our children’s life ready and not just exam ready. 

You may also like

Leave a Comment