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Why we encourage our students at Northbridge to be engaged and learn through STEAM

Andy Groom
Andy Groom (6 posts) Grade 4 and 5 Leader, Primary Global Campus and STEAM Leader View Profile

I had the pleasure of co-leading, with Jack Cooper (our Makerspace guru), a Parent Workshop about why we encourage our teachers and students at Northbridge International School Cambodia to be engaged and learn through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics). 

Northbridge International School Cambodia - STEAM

STEAM is one way of teaching important skills through, ‘Thinking, Being and Doing’ (the MIT learner profiles) in a cross-curricular approach. This, I believe, is an effective approach to learning as it encourages our students (and ourselves) to see all these aspects of the curriculum as connected as well as giving opportunities for a range of expertise to be developed within a given task.

Northbridge International School Cambodia - STEAM

The experience of presenting the workshop has managed to stick with me even though it was a month ago, and it has made me wonder why it left such a mark on me. After some consideration, I realised it was a very rich experience as it helped me further understand why STEAM is important to me, our Northbridge community, and why it is important to keep moving STEAM forward within our school.

Northbridge International School Cambodia - STEAM

Why STEAM is important to me…

Through many discussions with Mr Jack, and in general preparation for the workshop, I realised what the attraction to STEAM was for me personally. In a STEAM activity, the endpoint is supporting students to become good people who know how to learn and solve both small and big problems through:

  • Taking thoughtful risks

  • Persisting with problem-solving

  • Embracing collaboration

  • Working through a (creative) process

This then led me to connect what I care about with what we care about as a school, our vision:

We believe in the active engagement of the whole community. We believe that contemporary learning takes place when we are creative, collaborative and connected. We also believe that we have a shared humanity and we need to demonstrate compassion and ethical responsibility by enriching each other through our differences.

Northbridge International School Cambodia - STEAM

Our Northbridge Community…

This Parent Workshop gave me the opportunity to collaborate (a key part of STEAM) with our Northbridge community. What I found and enjoyed was that our community is filled with people who are willing to share their thoughts, take risks and discuss ideas freely. It was also evident that as individuals we connect to different aspects of STEAM.

For some, when discussing creativity in STEAM, there was a focus on the Arts, whilst for others, it was the science. This diversity in passions and expertise is why STEAM can be such an effective tool as there is room for you to apply your strengths whilst developing in other areas through working with those around you.

Northbridge International School Cambodia - STEAM

STEAM moving forward…

So, how do we keep valuing STEAM in school and as a community? I think that the value of what STEAM provides us with will really be strengthened through developing the way in which assessment is structured.

Assessment in education is important. It helps our students know what they are achieving, where they are headed, and through challenging discussions, they get clarity on how to get to the next level in their learning. Therefore, as teachers and students, we need to make sure we are clear on what it means to be an excellent collaborator and creative thinker.

As we set tasks and articulate assessment criteria, we will also be supporting our own development in understanding these areas.