Teach ‘problem solving’ to produce engineers, schools urged

Schools should focus less on “subjects” and more on teaching problem solving skills, say engineers in a report.

A report in The BBC suggests a focus on “playful experimentation” could boost learning throughout UK schools, says the Royal Academy of Engineering.

It could also instil a passion for engineering and help “overcome our current lack of engineers”, it adds.

Ministers say they want the UK to be world beating for science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.

Prof Bill Lucas, director of Winchester’s Centre for Real-World Learning said schools “must rethink” the way they teach in order to boost engagement in engineering.”It’s an open call for engineers across the world to become involved in education,”

The authors studied the effects of three pilot schemes to unite the worlds of education and engineering, which ran in England and Scotland from 2014 to 2016 across 33 schools and a further education college and involved 3,000 pupils and 84 teachers.

The schemes aimed to “encourage engineering habits of mind” in pupils.

And teachers were prompted to step back and allow the children to experiment and make mistakes. To begin with, some found it hard to try again with failed projects, while some teachers struggled to step back and allow mistakes in pupils’ work.

A spokesman for England’s Department for Education said the government had invested £76m to train 2,500 extra teachers in key subjects and boost the skills of existing teachers.

 

Read more about the pilot schemes here Teach ‘problem solving’ to produce engineers, schools urged

Is “playful learning” the way forward? Let us know or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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