While researching topics for this month’s blog post I read the following in the article STEM education myths in early grades by VIctoria Clayton published March 25, 2019 on District Administration.com and it really made me think.
“ a 2016 study that found kids show up for kindergarten with uneven exposure to science, technology, engineering and math. That gap—which can dog students through middle school—is so real that researchers can more consistently predict future academic achievement based on preschool math abilities than on early reading or attention skills.”
If we look at our post Inspiring Girls into STEM , We see that according to a Microsoft study 73% of girls wanted to improve when they grew up. Most children will find their place in the world the more they explore it. This means letting children get their hands on their world earlier. As parents and educators we need to step back and let children experience what they are learning. We don’t mean letting them touch the hot stove, but digging up things, counting pine cones, searching the stars, watching dinosaur videos on YouTube, and building LEGO towers over and over. By doing these things we allow our children to experience and learn about STEM in a natural way.
Children want to learn, they just don’t necessarily want to be taught.
In an article written by Grant Piros on March 27, 2019. Sparking Change in Teaching Practices for Edutopia. Org He resported on a Twitter survey he did about the moments that caused teacher to change their practices, most of the answers he responded to were those that were moved to let students learn, instead of teaching. The quote that will grab educators and parents came from a fourth grader show said “I did not really enjoy all the talking you did. I enjoy more doing than explaining. I think that next year you should think about letting us figure some stuff out ourselves.”
At times, the learning that this student is talking about can look like play. If they spend “screen time’ playing a variety of video games are they playing or are they learning game mechanics. Yes a teacher could stand at the front of a classroom and discuss the differences between a platformer game and and adventure game, and our teachers do this to a point. But a student is not going to really understand the difference until they get in there and get absorbed in a game to know the difference.