What is STEAM? Arts Integration Specialist Susan Riley describes STEAM as an educational approach to learning. It uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. It extends STEM, which previously did not include the arts.
A STEAM-based programme integrates learning and teaching. It requires an intentional connection between curriculum-learning objectives, standards, assessments, and lesson design and implementation. It applies math, science, and technology content to solve real-world problems through hands-on learning activities and creative design.
In this blog, we’ll talk about four major benefits of incorporating STEAM in education.
Fosters creative thinking and expression
A major benefit of a STEAM education is students learn to think “outside of the box.” There are no wrong answers in art. So, STEAM programmes encourage students to release creativity and not inhibit application of their ideas. Failure is not negative, but framed as part of the learning process.
Open-mindedness and inquiry are two of the learner attributes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme SISD teaches. And a STEAM education fosters this. Depending on access to materials, tools, or curriculum standards, learners drive questions and generate goals, decisions, and solutions. When students use their creativity, they approach tasks differently. They learn to use a variety of thought processes and skills in the classroom. This, in turn, also benefit them in everyday life.
Learning approaches grounded in art, drama, and creative writing give students hands-on training in delivering a message with confidence. Allowing them to hone the communicator learner attribute of the IB programme.
Encourages hands-on and collaborative learning
With a STEAM education, students control their own investigations and learning is solution-based, focusing on the process, which drives innovation.
Besides understanding the ways science, math, the arts, and technology work together, STEAM classrooms are collaborative—and noisy! Curriculum is taught using multiple access points and students work together to learn new information. They also share responsibility, and compromise when working on group projects across various disciplines.
Artistic and design methods allow students to fulfill their creative potential through STEAM projects. While learning to tackle challenges, students create and build prototypes, tinker, test, and re-test their designs. This collaborative teaching approach gives students different learning styles and opportunities to take in knowledge the way they prefer.
Some schools may offer unique collaborations with post-secondary institutions or clubs. They may include in-school challenges focusing on integrating STEAM disciplines, including bioengineering, computer coding, and robotics, additionally providing students with more opportunities to learn from researchers at some of the world’s leading STEAM institutions.
Children gain confidence
Additionally, students gain self-confidence. The creative expression provided by the arts in STEAM, combined with learning science, mathematics and technology, allows students to tackle tough subjects with self-assurance.
The results of a Confidence in Learning Poll in 2019 involving over 5000 students revealed more than half the students said hands-on learning made them more confident in STEAM. Almost 100 percent of over 1000 teachers surveyed stated they believe hands-on learning builds student confidence.
Fosters curiosity about social issues and motivates students to be changemakers
STEAM-based classrooms prepare students for careers in STEAM fields, and are all about solving real-world problems. STEAM teaches the power of observation, of both people and one’s surroundings.
Principle is another learner attribute of the IB programme SISD teaches, which encourages students to act with integrity, honesty, and a sense of fairness, justice and respect for individuals, groups and communities. Students take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
By integrating multiple subjects, a STEAM approach allows students to see the intersections between current world issues and disciplines, and feel more equipped to tackle their solutions.
If students can address real problems in their social and environmental context, they can eventually make the connections between STEAM knowledge and their impacts on everyday life. In a world where misinformation runs rampant, learning both technical and artistic skills teaches students to approach new situations with a positive attitude and solve problems creatively using a variety of methods. This will benefit them greatly as they tackle challenges in the real world.
STEAM is especially beneficial in a child’s early educational years. All of SISD’s students in the non-bilingual stream follow an enhanced STEAM-based curriculum from KG1 to Grade 5. For more information about our STEAM programmes, contact our Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.