STEAMed Magazine January 2016 - Page 38

ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT STEAM EDUCATION starts from the BOTTOM Scott Lininger What do children actually want to learn? Until we answer this question, the quest to further incorporate STEAM into our students’ curriculum will already be a lost cause. Through a bottom-up approach to education, we can truly foster the more creative, analytic, well rounded, and, above all, happier generation of children that STEAM ed. is destined to create. Learning from Past Mistakes In the 1990s and early 2000s many in the education world began to conceive of effective management as one where rewards and punishments are handed down to teachers based on a series of performance metrics. In this top-down approach, it was not particularly important what kids wanted: Administrators would incentivize teachers to maximize performance and educators, fearing the repercussions of below average work, would (supposedly) provide children with a top-notch education. Nevertheless, this approach turned out to be a drastic failure. Since schools became places of intense evaluation, not intellectual growth, many children began to despise what they were learning. In the oppressive environment of the classroom, upper level school administrators had stripped teachers of their most valuable asset: The capacity to motivate students with the passion to learn. STEAMed Magazine 38 January 2016 Edition