Reviewing the Potential and Challenges of Developing STEAM Education
26 Jan 2016
Reviewing the Potential and Challenges of Developing STEAM Education through Creative Pedagogies for 21st Century Learning: how can school curricula be broadened towards a more responsive, dynamic and inclusive form of education?
Globally, the term STEAM is used to indicate ways in which the Arts or art-practices (and sometimes more broadly the Humanities and Social sciences) engage with the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The number of students choosing post-compulsory study of STEM subjects is seen as being critical to a country’s economic success, yet concerns have been expressed about the way those subjects are currently taught, specifically: a lack of creativity; a need to focus on inter- and multidisciplinary work; a need for a broader conception of science, and STEM’s marginalisation of concerns for society and the environment.
Populist accounts may argue for having more creatively-minded scientists, and a more scientifically literate wider population. Instead, the Commission uncovered a much richer and complex set of purposes and possibilities for STEAM education.
The arguments for the inclusion of the Arts in STEM in education then are wide-ranging, extending from contributing to making science education more appealing, through to seeding development of more embodied, affective, and interdisciplinary models of school education.
For the first time, this BERA Research Commission reviewed STEAM education and gauged the potential for STEAM-like approaches in interesting young people in science. At the same time, the Research Commission also considered the value of STEAM in encouraging a broader understanding of science and technology, encouraging debate about the wider role of science in society, and seeing the value of science as being more than just its contribution to the economy.
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