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STEAM - What’s all the hot air?

Throughout history scientific thinking has engendered some of humankind’s most potent innovations and creativity. Yet, on its own, Science can be perceived as narrow, empirical and at worst, dry. So that is why STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths) is an approach that has gathered much popularity over recent years. 

It is an integrated learning approach which combines traditional foundational and curricular content with a playful, creative, artistic approach to learning. There are many benefits of STEAM learning. Students learn to think outside of the box, feel empowered and express themselves creatively. They discover from doing and are the agents of learning rather than passive recipients of teachers’ lectures. More importantly, it teaches skills and subjects in a way that resembles real life and authenticity, and helps to foster a love of learning. 

As Inventor, Designer and Entrepreneur, Steve Jobs once said; 

The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change industries are both the thinker and doer in one person. Steve Jobs

Who is STEAM for?

A few years ago, STEAM was STEM and the Arts didn’t even get a mention. There was a lot of talk from business leaders and academics around the importance of driving science, technology, engineering and maths for higher education and future careers yet Art, including Design, Music, Film and Graphics, wasn’t a priority.    

However, the STEAM movement is now being championed with the understanding that Art provides fertile soil for collaboration, creativity and ideation. The former typecasts: “arty” or  “scientific” are increasingly obsolete. Instead, we see and encourage students fusing these disciplines to elicit new outcomes, products and prototypes. An Architect is a classic example of how all such subjects are integrated. There is no one type, rather, many blends, making STEAM for everyone. 


Looking ahead: future imperfect?

In a future where AI will inevitably dominate many fields, our children’s emotional intelligence; their empathy and creativity, will be of paramount importance in allowing them to propel themselves into the key roles, effectively to occupy space on the global thought map. 

So, it falls to schools to ensure that alongside traditional success metrics; examination grades, university acceptances etc. we are preparing students to be assessed through a future optic which will value their ability to adapt, flex and move organically within a rapidly shifting and evolving, often trans global, context. 

By its very nature, STEAM is future-focused. The skills that STEAM subjects promote and develop transcend language and enable students to communicate across and beyond traditional linguistic and geographical, social or even political barriers. Art and science are unifying forces, encouraging collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication. It is easy to see their vital relevance in both education and academia, as well as our daily lives.

CMS Picture 780 X 580 pix STEAM Blog

STEAM at The British School Yangon

Integrated learning is central to the way we work at The British School Yangon (BSY). We encourage all our students to learn through doing and interacting with teachers and peers to acquire new knowledge. We test their thinking and push them to achieve more than they thought possible. This starts with our youngest students in EYFS. Creativity is uninhibited  at this age and encouraging early exploration and curiosity is vital for success later on. 

BSY is a school in which the best of traditional British educational standards, curricular and pedagogical approaches are implemented. We are also a progressive, outward looking and proud school and we are lucky to have the resources and technology to drive STEAM forward, as well as the knowledge and dedication from our fantastic teachers. 

On Thursday 28th November we hosted  a STEAM digital design lab to showcase our incredible STEAM faculty, to offer more information about BSY in general and to help to nurture the relationships between the school, and our local Yangon community. We will host further events across the year, celebrating how  the Arts and Sport also help to shape our students, building their confidence and defining their futures. 

If, as Eleanor Roosevelt proclaimed, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, then it is our responsibility to ensure that they are crafted and curated  as best they can be as our children move through school, so that those dreams become new realities. 


Tor Del Federico