‘Focus on Stem is narrowing pupils’ world-view’

The TES is reporting that the previous winner of the million-dollar international teaching prize has warned that too much emphasis on Stem is narrowing pupils’ world-view. 

Nancie Atwell, who won the Global Teacher Prize last year, told the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai… she was worried that politicians in the UK and the US had started to over-emphasise the importance of Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects over the humanities.

“While science, math and technology certainly do matter a lot, they don’t matter the most,” she said.

“Emphasising Stem at the expense of the humanities is… a risky model. It narrows students’ world-view and their career options, by shrinking the curriculum and the potential for innovation.

“For years, business leaders have been saying that the skills acquired in a liberal arts education are exactly the ones they’re looking for.”

Ms Atwell, who teaches 11-to-13 year-olds in the US state of Maine, said that “trashing the humanities” had become a “popular pastime” for politicians.

“President Obama dissed art history majors, and former UK education secretary Charles Clarke declared medieval history ‘ornamental and a waste of public money,’” she said.

Ms Atwell said there was too much “alarm” about the prospect of future shortages of employees with Stem qualifications, because “no one can say if Stem shortages will exist by the time today’s students leave university.”

“Everyone’s children deserve a well rounded curriculum that invites them co connect knowledge across subject areas, uncover implications, take initiative and exercise their imaginations,” she said…

More at Focus on Stem is narrowing pupils’ world-view, warns former global teaching prize winner


Do you agree with Nancie Atwell – has the pendulum swung too far towards STEM subjects at the expense of the arts and humanities?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…

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