Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Over the course of the last several years, there has been renewed focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in our nation’s schools. President Obama has promoted STEM education as part of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which he launched in 2009. This campaign aims to a raise overall student achievement over the next decade in science and math, and increase the United State’s international rankings in both math and science education.
STEM education isn’t just a part of a national program, it is also an excellent area of focus for teachers pursuing a master of education degree. A teacher chooses to seek a master’s degree to enhance knowledge, refine the craft of teaching, and extend the teaching experience. Selecting a mathematics or science emphasis for a master of education degree will have significant impact by:
Providing a direction for teachers to shift instructional methods. STEM programs place emphasis on project-based learning, integration of disciplines, and real-world application and problem-solving. Possible course topics include problem-solving, inquiry-based study, interdisciplinary learning, and motivating students to pursue STEM careers. By pursuing a master of education degree with a math or science focus, teachers will learn new, innovative methods of teaching current and future students.
Helping to develop critical thinkers. A master of education degree with a STEM emphasis will help teachers prepare students to understand the connections that various disciplines possess. Students with acute critical thinking skills understand that science and math are essentially intertwined and rely heavily on one another. Teachers with advanced training in STEM programs will be able to explore these connections with their students, helping to shape critical thinkers across disciplines.
Motivating students to consider further STEM education or careers. The US is concerned with STEM education because it essentially holds the key to both our students’ futures and the nation’s. In order for the United States to remain competitive on a global scale, our students must be better prepared to compete. Any educator who has advanced training in math or science disciplines will possess the skills necessary to promote STEM education and careers to his or her students. Simply teaching STEM isn’t enough — the teacher must be able to translate this learning and newly acquired skills into motivation for further pursuit. A master of education with a STEM emphasis can play a key role.
Making the educator more marketable. School districts across the country are facing a shortage of teachers in STEM areas. Demand is only increasing for highly qualified teachers in all STEM disciplines. Obtaining a master of education degree in science or math education will help teachers meet this increased demand.