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How STEM Education Can Be Improved

Nov 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Since 1956, the government of the United States has invested a lot of money into improving the quality of science education in the country, giving grants to experts in science education so as to develop cutting-edge curricula and textbooks as well as sponsoring summer institutes for K-12 teachers. Americans that studied science during this period went on to being great scientists inventing the artificial heart, the personal computer, two-in-one shampoo, and rockets. However, different notable personalities have given various opinions on how STEM education can be improved, some of which are:

Carl Edwin Wieman, a renowned Nobel laureate in physics and also the former associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy suggested that universities should become more accountable about how they teach undergraduates basic science and mathematics. This is because he believes that graduates pushed into the society are deficient in their understanding of basic sciences. Also, the way students are being taught these subjects also develops more hatred for the subject.

Catherine L. Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technopush believes students are no longer motivated by the inventions of long dead scientists. She suggested that students should be taught science using new generation scientists invention and how today's scientists are solving problems. This will improve the quality of STEM education.

Alan I. Leshner, a chief executive officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggested that K-12 students need to understand the nature of science, the domains and limits of science, and how scientists work. Students should also be taught some high-level core concepts of science. For this to be possible, teachers should be highly rewarded so that K-12 teaching can become a viable and respected career alternative for scientists.

The president of University of Maryland suggested that mathematics and science should not just be taught but also applied in real life situations. Students generally believe the calculations in mathematics don’t apply to the real world. However, this can be corrected by creating opportunities that excite students on how mathematics and science connect to the real world and how it is applied in the government and corporate sector to solve real-life problems.

Elizabeth Blackburn, being a Nobel laureate in medicine and a biochemist at the University of California, San Francisco, thinks that the most important thing science educators need to teach is that science requires immersion. What is mostly taught is about setting up little projects, while real science lies in when you're really immersed in a question. This way, a new generation of scientists can be built.

Rita Colwell who is a cholera researcher and a former Director at National Science Foundation suggested that graduate students in mathematics, engineering, and science should be brought in to teach K-12 students. This elevates the quality of science taught in K-12 schools. Also, because the age difference between graduate students and K-12 students is not much, graduate students easily serve as role models for K-12 students.

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