“I really wish we didn’t have to take a math classes in college,” said Eva. “The ideas are all hard for me to understand. It’s like my brain doesn’t work that way.” Eva is like many college students, woefully unprepared for college math and classes that involve math. Many teachers witness this struggle within their classroom and students, requiring future changes to be made. However, the field of education is constantly evolving. Whether it is because of the introduction of new technology or even new ways of teaching itself, teachers need to be innovators. A new initiative in the teaching community is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); it will better prepare children for higher education and future high paying jobs.
STEM education is vital to the future success of America’s economy and its future workers. “STEM job creation over the next 10 years will outpace non-STEM jobs significantly, growing 17 percent as compared to 9.8 percent for non-stem positions” (Why STEM Education Matters, 2011, para. 1). Many companies are resorting to outsourcing the technology and engineering part of these jobs. “Google, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and other major tech companies -- insist businesses cannot find the skills they require in the domestic labor market and need access to a bigger, global pool of STEM workers” (McSherry, 2013, para.11). However, if the domestic pool of these workers were greater, then companies would no longer be required to import them. A reevaluation of the level of education that students are leaving American high school with is taking place. Innovative changes made within the schools will hopefully bring the U.S. up to the level of education global workers are receiving, but we must begin when children are young.
Emerging research suggests STEM curriculums can be implemented as early as pre-k and students will grasp the concepts. The earlier the concepts are introduced, the more comfortable and at ease; the child will feel about them later. Teachers are finding the need to return to training in order to facilitate the implantation of STEM into their classrooms. Professional development classes are the way many teachers stay current with new teaching styles and theories. Properly prepared teachers can easily incorporate these new strategies into any level of classroom.
Early childhood education should be a child’s first introduction to STEM education. “Although four disciplines are included in the acronym STEM, science and mathematics are the most familiar to teachers of young children” (Moomaw, 2013, p. 3). Most preschool learning centers have an underutilized STEM element to them; the teacher just needs to point it out to the students. Sometimes, with a few...