STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics is the interdisciplinary educational approach currently turning traditional education on its head. Although the trend of incorporating STEAM-based learning into high-school curriculum is gaining traction, it is not as widespread as it should be. And although education funding continues to get stretched thinner and thinner, here are a few reasons why schools should look toward STEAM education as a necessary part of a high-school education.
Critical thinking skills
One of the most toted benefits of incorporating STEAM-based education in schools is the ability for students to develop critical thinking skills at a higher level than what could be provided through traditional education. Since STEAM is rooted in interdisciplinary practices, students are forced to look at learning through multiple perspectives to effectively problem solve. Education specialist, Andrew Miller has broken down the critical thinking benefits of STEAM education saying, “students in high-level STEAM work are actively solving problems, taking ownership of their learning, and applying content in real-world contexts.
Better communication practices
Although some might be surprised about this benefit, STEAM education provides students with the tools necessary to increase their communication skills. Sandy Buczynski, an associate professor with the University of San Diego’s Master of Education program, has written that having a background in STEAM education can be beneficial because “The next generation of scientists will need to develop their communication skills through both traditional means of writing and speaking, as well as more artistic means including illustrating, animating, videography, cartooning and model building.” High school students having access to a STEAM-based education will prepare them for the fast-changing world that is increasingly looking for new ways to communicate effectively.
Enhanced collaborative skills
An understated benefit to STEAM education is the immense amount of collaboration that occurs. Education journalist Sara Burkhard names collaboration as one of the key benefits of STEAM-based learning because “the best teams are those that allow each member to shine and bring their own unique contributions to the table without undervaluing each other’s contributions. STEAM education encourages this, bringing a collaborative spirit to the classroom rather than a competitive one.” Developing these collaborative skills at a younger age is also beneficial because the STEAM-based collaboration that occurs in the classroom mimics the real-life collaboration that goes on in STEAM careers. Having that foundation as a high-school student will make young people all the more prepared to begin a career in the field.
Preparation for a modern job market
Perhaps the most practical benefit of providing STEAM-based education to high school students is the invaluable preparation that it will bring for students battling a modern job market. In a 2019 study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-focused jobs are expected to grow by 8 % by 2029, in comparison to only 3.7% for all occupations. Students having the ability to get their feet wet in STEAM education will provide practical experience for such a lucrative field. And for students who aren’t interested in having a career directly in STEM, there are skills that are developed in STEAM education that are easily transferable to other fields.
Although these aren’t all the benefits that can come with implementing STEAM-based education in high schools. These benefits provide a well-rounded perspective of all the skills and tools students can acquire if they are provided with STEAM education.
Buczynski, Sandy, et al. “COMMUNICATING SCIENCE CONCEPTS THROUGH ART.” Science Scope, vol. 35, no. 9, 2012, pp. 29–35. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/43184738. Accessed 22 Jun. 2022.
Burkhard, Sara. “The Importance of STEAM Education in High School.” EF Blog, EF Education First, 6 July 2021, www.ef.com/wwen/blog/efacademyblog/importance-steam-education-high-school.
Miller, Andrew. “PBL and STEAM Education: A Natural Fit.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 20 May 2014, www.edutopia.org/blog/pbl-and-steam-natural-fit-andrew-miller.
Zilberman, Alan, and Lindsey Ice. “Why Computer Occupations Are behind Strong STEM Employment Growth in the 2019â€“29 Decade: Beyond the Numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, 19 Jan. 2021, www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-10/why-computer-occupations-are-behind-strong-stem-employment-growth.htm#:%7E:text=The%20U.S.%20Bureau%20of%20Labor,3.7%20percent%20for%20all%20occupations.