How do we motivate students to consider their STEM options? What can we do to build better STEM pathways for students? How should we approach STEM and STEAM in our classrooms? How do we recruit and retain STEM teachers?
We put these questions in front of educators at this year’s SmartBrief STEM Pathways event in Washington DC. Speakers and attendees broke into think-tank groups to grapple with these issues and exchange ideas. They wrote their favorites on large Post-it notes and shared them with their peers. Here are just a few of those takeaways:
How do we motivate students to consider their STEM options?
- Let students “own” their learning and encourage them to “fail forward.”
- Parents are the main influencers for students. Educate them on the rewards and opportunities for their kids, such as salary and career satisfaction.
- Increase relevancy of STEM to culture and gender.
What can we do to build better STEM pathways for students?
- Change the perception of education: There is not just one way to succeed!
- Use recruiting videos from employers to help show career potential to parents.
- Career-technical education has been relegated to second-class status. That needs to change. We need to show that electives are pathways to career and college readiness.
How should we approach STEM and STEAM in our classrooms?
- Arts serve to create and support creative-thinking skills that are needed for using tech skills.
- The art creation process is much like the engineering creation process.
- Encourage “makers” as a pathway to career.
How do we recruit and retain STEM teachers?
- Increase salary, benefits, retirement and growth curve.
- Improve support from administration. Value and motivate teachers – don’t stifle their efforts.
- All teachers can be and are STEM teachers. Active curiosity and problem solving are an action of education.
What are you doing to foster discussions about STEM and STEAM on your campuses? How are you encouraging pathways to these careers? Drop us a line and let us know. We are collecting ideas to feature in our upcoming SmartReport on STEM due out this spring.
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