From STEM to STEAM – The Changing Face of Education

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STEM to STEAM

Most people believe education grounded in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) leads to professional success. That’s the reason why the majority of parents want their children to become doctors, engineers, and accountants. As the world progresses in every field, confining education to STEM can make things arduous for the youth. Even though it equips students with technical and behavioral skills, creativity keeps lagging. 

Today, educators are adapting to STEM but with the addition of ‘arts’ – STEAM. It includes everything – from language, visual arts, social studies, design, music, and liberal studies. Since STEM only focused on scientific concepts, STEAM is encouraging problem-based learning. It allows students to think innovatively and apply learned concepts to the real world. In addition to being more effective, this educational approach engages the students.

Moreover, it will equip students with skills relevant to the 21st century, setting them up for future success. If you don’t know much about this, have a look below. Here are seven ways how STEAM is changing the face of education. 

1.Develops Appreciation for Arts

For the education sector, it is time to move beyond finger paints and portraits. Instead, educators have to start exploring the works of Da Vinci, Rivera, and other artists. The classic works of artists can inspire young students, teaching them to observe, think, and discuss respectfully. The same goes for teenagers in high schools; integrating arts in the curriculum will help them develop a different perspective towards life.

Likewise, people who develop an interest and passion for arts should have the option to pursue it as their profession. So, if you wish to land a challenging career based on your interests, eLearning can make the process seamless. You can opt for liberal arts online degree from the comfort of your home. The degree curriculum would equip you with a well-rounded and customizable skillset. 

2. Builds Leadership Skills 

Although mathematics, science, and other technical subjects are crucial for learning, they won’t be enough to thrive in the practical world. Then, students need an essential quality of leadership. While some students are born with leadership qualities, others have to lean towards the role of leadership in groups. Fortunately, STEAM learning unfolds different paths for students to think innovative ways and learn things they like. 

Having authority over subject matter will make students feel more confident, encouraging them to take the lead. In addition, instructors can also reverse roles through STEAM learning. For instance, the shy students will get a chance to talk about their favorite topic, building confidence. Such type of learning style will also make them contribute more to class, developing leadership skills. 

3. Cultivates Cultural Competence

When it comes to art-related subjects, cultural competence comes first. However, culturally responsive education can begin when people start to reflect upon themselves. In arts, the topics relating to social sciences, humanities, design, and communication cultivate cultural competence in students. It teaches students how to interact with peers, teachers, and other people, a vital skill for them. 

Similarly, it helps students interact with diverse people, ensuring they keep prejudice and discrimination aside. It allows them to understand the differences and beliefs of different cultures, develop respect for diversity, compassion, and equality. Such practices also foster friendliness and acceptance in society which is essential for communities to prosper.

4. Exposes students to the World of Creativity 

STEAM education engages students in all kinds of activities. They experience guided inquiry where they have to ask thoughtful questions from the instructor and discover unique answers. At the same time, they have to apply what they learn while solving problems creatively. Most teachers give an open floor for such activities, allowing students to experiment and try new things. 

Moreover, the involvement in artistic activities further encourages students to test their creative skills. For instance, students learning how to make wire sculpture will try different wiring techniques to make it work, experiencing a creative process. 

5. Increases Student Engagement 

Indeed, elementary schools have many interactive and engaging activities for students, but high schools are different. Educators design curriculums around college admissions and SATs to ensure students get into their desired college. It might seem like a practical approach, but it takes away the fun from learning. After all, engagement in schools is necessary because it motivates the students to study. 

STEAM education focuses on increasing student engagement by ensuring the learning curriculums are not confined to a specific grade. Instead, it focuses on a reward-based system where students get graded for their efforts. Thus, even if the outcome doesn’t turn out great, the student would still get grades for their hard work, motivating them to work harder next time. 

6. Develops Social Skills 

For student’s development, social skills are crucial. They should communicate and interact with their fellow peers, teachers, and other school staff. In STEAM education, students get an opportunity to work in different groups and perform cross-curricular tasks. Hence, everyone gets to lead, voice an opinion, and give suggestions. Precisely, this approach challenges students to put some effort into their social-emotional learning. 

Moreover, it provides students artistic independence to solve problems by themselves. They have the autonomy to discuss the issues and agree on the best way to solve them. The collaborative working space in the classroom develops team-building and social skills. 

7. Promotes Critical thinking 

Unlike conventional education systems that focus on rote learning, the STEAM approach encourages students to think critically. They have to think through problems and develop solutions in the given time frame. Similarly, it compels students to apply the information they learn in the educational curriculum. For instance, if they mastered conflict resolution, the instructors would ensure they can use that knowledge in practical life. It helps them connect with the real world, preparing them for a successful professional life. 

In addition, STEAM education initiates cross-curricular projects that engage students. They have to use different parts of their brains and motor skills to see projects through different lenses. Also, they get an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger pictures, allowing them to focus on details. 

Final Thoughts 

Sooner or later, the educational sector would be adopting a STEAM approach for learning. Many schools have already jumped on this bandwagon while colleges are trying to design curriculums around STEAM. It will promote collaboration, critical thinking, and personalized learning, improving the educational experiences. In addition, the skills taught under the STEAM approach would form an excellent workforce for the future.