You may have already heard about STEM education. It’s an educational movement that seeks to address the gap in student interest & achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.
This gap is especially apparent for girls & young women, where male representation in STEM career fields is disproportionately high. There’s a whole lot of reasons behind the gender gap in STEM, from subtle bias in the way that we teach and raise young girls to ridiculous statements that women hear everyday, like “women can’t code” or “girls aren’t good at math.”
But recently, the focus has broadened to recognize education in the Arts as a major foundation for both male & female success in STEM fields. Truly innovative developments in science & technology require creativity & lateral thinking–the kinds of skills we develop when we study and appreciate the Arts.
First championed by the Rhode Island School of Design, STEAM education (the combination of STEM plus Arts/Design) is quietly transforming our understanding of the way we learn, think & create.
By fostering analytical thought blended with creative expression, educators are finding that they can engage both sides of a child’s brain, leading to improvements in information retention, independent learning & innovative exploration.
And the most astonishing thing is the impact this is having on girls. By offering them non-traditional ways to investigate & study science, technology, engineering & math, girls can build confidence in their abilities to solve complex problems, build intricate devices or create technological tools.
STEAM education may also play to the strengths of girls’ brain structures. Unlike for males, women’s language centers span both hemispheres of the female brain. In fact, there are far more links & neural activity between the hemispheres of the female brain.
Storytelling, design & collaboration–elements which are often associated with the Arts but just as important in the Sciences–can be the key to unlocking girls’ interest & talent in STEM.
They also offer us hope for a better future.
A world where women and men work together to tackle some of the most challenging issues we face today.
A world where the next generation of young women can rise up to be leaders & influencers that can think creatively & analytically to improve their world.
A world where our daughters can find success on whatever path they choose, rather than one that they are gently pushed towards.
Why STEAM and not just STEM? Because it’s going to take all the brain-power we’ve got to make this world a better place, and it just makes sense to use both halves at the same time.