Just as an English teacher’s job doesn’t end once a book is finished, a math teacher’s job isn’t over just because the student solves the problem. Education should be so much more than that. It’s about helping students connect the dots and find meaningful ways to interpret and understand the course’s materials. This often results in critical thinking and applied learning that is more likely to stick with the learner than other more basic tactics, like memorization and assigned readings. Deepening the connection between learner and lesson is a principle responsibility of every educator. Fortunately, current trends in education are steering teachers toward a more exploratory way of helping students learn in every subject through initiatives to support STEM education in schools.
A substantial part of early education deals with making students more aware of how they impact their immediate environments and how those environments in turn influence their successes. This goes for both their academic pursuits and things they encounter just in daily living. As a whole, education serves to prepare individuals for productive, fulfilling lives. This is why STEM education is so critical to the curriculum, because it embraces the very subjects that regularly influence and impact students in their everyday lives. Which is also why it’s not just an important focus for teachers dealing with the specific subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but for every teacher who is interested in expanding their instruction to broaden student perspective in all subjects. By invigorating your curriculum and instruction according to STEM objectives, you can transform your classroom to become an improved learning environment for your students.
STEM education focuses on promoting creativity and exploration in the learning process. This means that educators shift from textbook teaching to more project-based learning, which can be scary for educators who aren’t used to relinquishing control of their curriculum. Remember that just because the classroom isn’t on a strict schedule, it doesn’t mean the students aren’t achieving their learning objectives. Overall, the benefits of this type of education are so rewarding that teachers would be foolish to neglect how simple variations in instruction could change a stagnant classroom into a dynamic learning environment. Knowledge retention is just one major benefit. Critical thinking is another. During project-based learning, students are encouraged to find their own answers and draw their own conclusions.
Assisting students in these types of classroom exercises requires more than just establishing a firm knowledge in your subject area. It asks instructors to expand that insight to include more learning strategies and new research processes. This is where a STEM degree in Curriculum & Instruction can be a real aid in the curriculum development process. Becoming a STEM teacher gives educators the opportunity to diversify lesson plans in their own departments and even in their entire schools, potentially moving into leadership roles as their expertise in multiple learning styles becomes evident to both their peer teachers and administration.
To explore this further, let’s take a look at what exactly defines a STEM educator. At their roots, STEM educators strive to compel students toward careers and academic pursuits involving four broad subject areas: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But limiting STEM education to those academic subjects that fit within these broad categories ignores how it relates to all educators. STEM integration is the key to this puzzle. What’s more, this improved quality of education better situates middle school and secondary school students to compete with their peers from other countries, who are currently outperforming the United States in STEM subjects.
For all educators who are concerned with how their students can position themselves for success and truly benefit their communities, STEM subjects are an essential component to both of these agendas. Teaching STEM subjects is just one of many ways educators can become proponents of this initiative. By seeking an advanced education in curriculum & instruction with a focus on STEM education, any teacher can enjoy the advantages of progressing their education careers. Making this change in instruction allows educators to acknowledge the society that students are living in right now and prepare them to be functioning and, in many cases, important cogs in that system. Working toward an education system that embraces modern society, revolutionizes old tenets of education and recognizes ways to excite learners are all critical to the STEM education movement, and thus becomes an important goal for any and all teachers currently working within that system.