Aareena Dhillon, born and brought up in Mumbai, India, is now a STEAM educator in Louisiana based Baton Rouge international School having completed her Masters in Science (in Solid State Physics) and a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Education.
STEAM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
Science and Technology are integral part of the education system and society. It helps students explore and become critical thinkers. Certain experiments that cannot be performed in the Science lab, can be performed virtually.
Development of these fields is vital for the development of society. Students work on identifying “Real Life Problems” in their STEAM projects and finding a solution; This can be achieved only if the students have knowledge of Science along with technology. Students develop problem solving skills and thinking skills through the process.
Assessing a child under the STEAM methodology of teaching
Assessment takes place every time a child enters your class. It is a continuous process of observation of different skills being developed in the class. Along with this, almost every project/task assigned to students have rubrics attached with it. The facilitator can assess how closely the student has followed the rubrics.
One should keep in mind that the rubric should allow the student enough freedom to explore and evaluate the task in hand and enhance the student’s critical thinking and creativity.
Being a facilitator
Ms. Dhillon says – Being an IB educator for a couple of years now have taught me tremendously. I hardly introduce myself as a teacher; but as a facilitator. I believe, our role is not to teach but to facilitate these young minds. The best approach for this is the Inquiry and student centred approach.
Having Inquiry based learning stimulates these young minds to formulate questions and find the answers all by themselves. Instead of students memorizing, we should focus on developing skills such as critical thinking, self-management, communication and research skills which will help them in long run and in every field.
I would, like to share about the STEAM Fair conducted at BRIS (Baton Rouge International School). The theme was finding solutions to real life problems. I simply shared a video with the students to ignite a spark in their minds and ask questions as to what are real life problems. At the end, the students came up with wonderful and amazing projects. It was a very heart-warming experience.
The fear of Science
It is the fear of unknown, feels Ms. Dhillon. Facilitator plays an important role in this situation. If the approaches to teaching and learning is well sorted; this fear can be conquered. Students understand what they can see and touch as most of them are kinesthetic learners. Hands on activities can do wonders and again the Inquiry based learning plays a vital role.
Under-representation of girls in Science and Maths fields
Peer pressure, support from parents and school, lack of resources, general misconceptions of the STEAM professions and careers are some reasons for this says Ms. Dhillon. Even lack of role models can be added to one of the causes. I had a parent request me to tutor her daughter not because she wasn’t doing well but she wanted her daughter to experience a woman with a Mathematical and Science background. It is about creating a true holistic learning experience.
The biggest challenge, according to me, will be to eradicate the fear of students towards STEM subjects and STEM professions along with bridging the gap between girls and boys in the STEM education. Economy also plays a big role as access to some of the good STEM resources could be expensive.
Baton Rouge International School
5015, Auto Plex Drive
Baton Rouge, LA – 70809