Expand your teaching reach by examining successful global education strategies in STEM.
Gaining a worldview through global education strategies from our foreign counterparts can be valuable to educators in the United States. Successful teachers are open to studying the quality educational tactics of their peers through research, networking, and attending workshops. Why not take a cue from peers within the international teaching community and learn about global education strategies in regions that produce top STEM talent?
In a number of studies conducted by outlets such as the Pew Research Center, Singapore’s students have landed in the top spot for science and math education and on 2012’s PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). To consistently gain this position in STEM, Singapore must be implementing stringent study schedules or rigid guidelines for students, right? Not exactly.
Rather than simply memorizing facts and formulas, students in Singapore engage in competitive global education strategies, such as more experiential learning opportunities. The Association of Science – Technology Centers says an initiative led by the country’s education minister and launched by Science Centre Singapore was implemented for students 13 to 15 years old. Through STEM INC, students of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Applied Learning Program (STEM ALP) use their education to address real global issues in STEM, find solutions, and envision a career path to achieve success in science- and math-related fields. STEM professionals are hired to develop curriculum, train teachers, and advise the Ministry of Education regarding improvements to the system. STEM ALP students are not given exams in the program, as the premise of this method is founded in a belief that when students find fun and enjoyment in their studies, the quality of learning will be greater, thereby resulting in higher scores on future tests.
As Singapore’s leading STEM global education strategies competitor, Hong Kong also places as a top PISA contender. In fact, the government recognizes that its students lead in STEM knowledge, but according to the Curriculum Development Council’s November 2015 report, “Promotion of STEM Education: Unleashing Potential in Innovation,” officials believe incorporating a more tactile education would benefit pupils.
Following the example set by Singapore’s Ministry of Education, the councils reveals, “…it is necessary to strengthen the ability of students to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills across different subject disciplines through solving daily life problems with practical solutions and innovative designs.” The council also outlines “Guiding Principles for Promoting STEM Education.” Among the guidelines, Hong Kong emphasizes “Learner-centered approaches, balance among different interests, building on strengths, continuous development process, and essential learning experiences” – which encourage students to approach STEM outside the classroom.
STEM in the USA
While we eagerly await the results from 2015’s PISA, examining the placement of United States’ students during 2012 shows a need for improvement, according to Pew Research Center. Of the 64 participating countries, the U.S. placed 35th in math and 27th in science. As legislators, administrators, and educators debate the best teaching methods, looking to our foreign counterparts’ global education strategies might help.