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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Why STEAM Needs to Take a Front Seat to STEM

The term STEAM has been pretty consistently bantered around for years as a replacement to STEM. Are the educational acronyms driving you crazy? Here you go....

STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts, math

STEM - science, technology, engineering, math

The arts. In or out?

Most top business leaders and scientists will argue - IN. The reason is fairly simple. The arts bring an entirely new array of skills that are necessary but often not consistently found in the workplace: creativity, risk-taking, teamwork, values, and responsibility. Those skills all emerge from performing arts classes, such as band, color guard, dramatic productions, and dance teams.

If you are looking for a community with a strong identify and focus on its citizens, look for places with strong community arts programs and performing arts groups. Want out of the box thinking, give a student time to wrestle with a visual art project where there is not right or wrong answer.

Teamwork and responsibility aren't core skills taught in most classes, but think of those electives where students can only be successful if strong collaboration is in place. That's the value the arts brings, moreso than other academic courses.

STEAM infuses that "A" for arts into the formula. And let's manage expectations, because when we talk about STEAM, we are not suggesting all lessons or projects have all of the subjects present. For example, some projects may have only the S and M. Others may have the E and A.

By the way, as a leader, I argue IN as well.

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