Teaching the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is more than something we ought to do. It’s the key to providing a thriving economy in the United States.
Directing our educational focus toward improving student knowledge in these areas both will provide students with a greatly needed knowledge, and it will enhance their understanding and appreciation of the world.
Perhaps my colleague Mark DiMaggio best explains why future generations’ ability to understand and appreciate the world depends on our ability to view the world through another’s eyes, through the eyes of all other living creatures. DiMaggio says,
As my career as an educator continues, I find myself more and more frequently taking time to reflect on the ever-present “why do we need to know this” question with my students. And you know what? I NEVER tell them it’s because you’ll need to know this for a question on the April state tests. What do they care about state tests?
Why should we learn about the oceans? Because they feed about 600,000,000 people every day, regulate climate, cycle the nutrients you need to stay alive, and they provide a source of mineral wealth a vital shipping link. On top of that, the ocean provides water to sail, on, makes waves to surf, and are endlessly beautiful and inspiring!
We are required by law to teach the standards; but let’s not lose sight of our real task, to inspire, encourage, support, care for, and help mold a citizenry of thoughtful, compassionate, hopeful, caring people.
STEM education is pivotal because these fields changes the direction of humanity from generation to generation. Understanding how we affect the natural world is critical in creating both balance and sustainability. Science exploration and research provides the very knowledge of drastic changes that are occurring in the natural environment of the world’s ecosystems.
Without fundamental knowledge of human and natural systems, our very culture will eventually collapse. Education provides humanity with a means to share previous knowledge with future generation through discovery and interactions. Teachers provide the very thread that sustains and enhance our very existence.
Read about Secretary Duncan’s reform discussion with 2009 PAEMST Awardees.
Read Paul Karafoil’s blog about the PAEMST awardees’ week in DC.