We’ve all heard the old adage – “Practice Makes Perfect”. In theory, this seems to be axiomatically true; what else could lead you to perfection but regular practice? In practical terms however we find that there is missing piece to the puzzle of mastery and it is hard to put one’s finger on it. Many of us have experienced putting in hours to learn something deeply never really managing to break the mediocrity plateau that we often find ourselves in. What then is the path to mastery? Two words – Deliberate Practice.
Deliberate Practice invokes the importance of self-evaluation. Practice you must, but also make time to review your process. Find out what works and what doesn’t and keep changing your approach till you achieve your desired goal. Work hard, but smartly.
Drawing parallels to our education system, we find that traditional education; though intended to help students get interested in the workings of the world; often fails to do so. It provides a lot of rote material to consume, but doesn’t provide the right context. Why do students need to learn about prime numbers? That they are unique and different can be a starting point, but the fact that prime numbers form the building blocks of cryptography can be a game changer for the students to know! How then to fill this void left by traditional education? Experts around the world think STEM education can help.
What exactly is STEM education? STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It encompasses a vast array of subjects which help expose students to fundamentals of these disciplines. At the school level, the STEM approach aims to integrate concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects in different classes and emphasizes the application of knowledge to real-life situations. It is an is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in appropriate contexts.
Research indicates that STEM exposure to students from an early age helps students tremendously in later life. A recent report by Rackerrank reveals that Modern Days Leaders are 300% more likely to have been exposed to some form of STEM before the age of 10! They are thus more likely to develop superior problem solving skills. A good STEM class models a real world problem in a class environment and allows students to spend time exploring all facets of the problem and it’s corresponding solution – right from ideation, design, modelling and execution.
As the world economy shifts to specialised jobs more and more, STEM finds itself prominently in the job market as well –
- Over the past 10 years, jobs in STEM fields have grown three times as fast as jobs in non-STEM fields.
- According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%
STEM education isn’t a theoretical concept, we can see the model of traditional education changing rapidly as people become more attuned to the needs of children in a world that is changing very rapidly. Disciplines that foster intellectual development in children from an early age not only help them in their schools but insulates their future from unwarranted changes.