Dr. Hind Louali: A Brief Run-Through of STEM Education

The acronym STEM, or “Science Technology Engineering Mathematics,” is a system of education that was introduced in 2001 by the United States National Science Foundation, or NSF, by scientific administrators in the U.S. The NSF used the acronym SMET previously when referring to the career fields in either those four disciplines or a curriculum that incorporated knowledge and skills from these fields, according to Dr. Hind Louali.

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The history of STEM

In 2001, however, it was American biologist Judith Ramaley, who was then assistant director of education and human resources at NSF, who rearranged the words to form the STEM acronym. Ever since then, Dr. Hind Louali says that many countries beyond the United States have adopted STEM-focused curricula.

Today, STEM programs are being developed in places such as Australia, France, China, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan, among others.

What STEM allows children to do

STEM programs involve applying real-world scenarios that allow kids to go out of the classroom and see how they can use subjects in the real world. This kind of learning enhances the student’s understanding of the subjects and gives them a deeper appreciation of their lessons. As a result, students feel all the more invested in their education.

For example, Dr. Hind Louali mentions that when students learn and understand the significance of math in everyday life, they feel more inspired and motivated to grasp its concepts, pay more attention in class, and apply what they learn in the real world.

For middle and high school students, to connect and apply what they learn to something outside the confines of the classroom means they are more engaged with learning itself. When students understand why learning something is important, they can maintain or even discover a passion for specific subjects. It is important, especially in the event they lose interest in their education.

Benefits of STEM beyond school

Another significant aspect of STEM education is that it can help develop important life skills. Kids can use these skills for years to come. STEM encourages students to think critically whenever they solve problems. Other disciplines may give students problems with just a single correct answer. With STEM, however, activities require students to use the trial-and-error process to determine the best methods.

Through STEM, students use previous lessons to help them gain an understanding of situations, which can help them solve problems and activities. It allows them to build their knowledge gradually. For instance, they may learn a rather complex math formula that adds to their previous studies. Then, they can use the said formula for a science activity. The students can then see how science and math work together in harmony.

The creation of critical, confident thinkers

Critical thinking is a significant skill that students can and should learn. Many employers, especially in the bigger, more advanced companies, look more at a candidate’s soft skills than their hard skills since soft skills are more challenging to teach.

Students develop soft skills and personal characteristics like public speaking, self-confidence, and critical thinking through STEM activities and lessons. When these skills and qualities come naturally, Dr. Hind Louali says that students can build themselves up and set themselves apart from competitors, such as other applicants, when trying to get a job.

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