While some may claim that the addition of arts has taken focus away from the original STEM education subjects, the importance of its integration is vital. There is now a strong and important intersection between science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts. Introducing this fifth element allows students to be more creative in their approach to problem-solving, using the inventive and innovative skills learned by studying the arts to link these various fields.
This collaborative thinking approach prepares STEAM education students for life after study. STEAM education promotes inquiry and process-based learning, rather than simply encouraging students to revise facts for tests and use this as a marker for success. It prepares students for the type of research-based approach that’s required for further education, as well as setting them up for the needs of the 21st century workplace.
In the modern job market, possessing a combination of creative and analytical skills is more important than ever, as roles become multifaceted and require an appropriately adaptable skillset. Occupations within the STEAM industries are growing twice as quickly as those outside of it, with employers now looking for a wider range of skills in each candidate. For instance, a graphic designer role may previously have only required proficiency in visual arts and design; now, the same role may encompass coding and development, skills from the STEM area.
The benefits of STEAM education
STEAM education has the following objectives:
Drive innovation by encouraging employers to place emphasis on the arts in recruitment
Encourage the repositioning of multiple areas of the arts to the forefront of education
Improve STEM education and research by integrating the arts
Based on those aims, the benefit of STEAM education is improving the quality, diversity and innovation of the modern workforce by integrating multiple disciplines into education.
The traditional approach of teaching individual subjects in isolation simply doesn’t fit with the challenges of the modern world, society and workplace; teaching students how to pass exams in various areas is simply not enough. STEAM education offers an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to learning, that prepares students for real-world tasks and success.
In conclusion, STEAM education takes the building blocks of STEM education and diversifies its approach by introducing and integrating a further methodology. The arts are a vital element of modern education that help to prepare students for further study and the workplace.
You can read more about Nord Anglia’s approach to STEAM education here, as well as a case study of our collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other examples of how our students take part in STEAM-related activities in our schools.