STEM education has been a relatively recent introduction, yet all over the world its popularity has skyrocketed among not only students but also employers, particularly in the manufacturing sector. In 2018 alone, over a third of all A-level entries were in STEM subjects in the UK according to the Joint Council for Qualifications. That’s 36.2% of all A-level entries!
In modern society, rapidly advancing technology and increasingly complex challenges demand young adults and even children to be well-rounded individuals capable of quick learning to thrive. In this age of interconnectivity, solutions to problems now require multiple disciplines to achieve. Simply specialising in one field of study is no longer enough when it comes to education. This is where STEM can help. Not only does it challenge your child to find practical solutions to complex problems, it helps turn your child’s knowledge and education into a well-rounded and practical skillset.
What is STEM education?
STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While this may not seem all that special at first glance, what STEM does differently is integrating these subjects with cohesive training based on real-world applications rather than teaching the subjects separately in isolation.
A great example of this is the increasingly important and broad field of computer science. A programmer in robotics needs to be capable of using both mathematical and technological techniques together in an integrated manner, yet at the same time needs to have enough engineering knowledge about the hardware they are working with as well as the physics they are trying to achieve. On the other hand, a robotics engineer would need the opposite, to be capable in engineering and mathematics while being knowledgeable enough about programming.
Benefits of STEM education for your child
Single field specialisations are rapidly becoming obsolete, especially with the rapid shifts in technology and science. Adaptation and application of your skills are now what it takes to not only survive but to also thrive in the modern world. In this, STEM prepares your child very well for the challenges he or she will face both in the job market and personal pursuits. The core concepts of STEM are what they must face in an ever-changing and competitive world.
Being well rounded in multiple fields as well as capable of practical application will go a long way for their career prospects. STEM is at the forefront of innovation and is in high demand, enough demand that the UK has seen a government investment of £8.9 million to try to encourage more young people to pursue STEM education and careers.
Complement “hard skills” with “soft skills”
Apart from the “hard skills” that come with STEM subjects, “soft skills” are now just as essential to thrive in today’s labour economy. This includes skills such as critical thinking, STEM promotes students to take initiative in problem-solving rather than simply doing what they are told to do. This is an important skill set to learn from as young as possible, as initiative and problem-solving capabilities are in high demand. They ensure that regardless of the situation, the student is capable of adapting and taking the lead.
STEM, due to its multidisciplinary nature, encourages students to develop their teamwork, communication and digital literacy. This is especially important when students are seeking to leverage their individual expertise in different disciplines to solve complex problems together. This is a perfect simulation for complex issues they will run into during their careers, the ability to work with and utilise differing skillsets, as well as integrating technology into a problem-solving process is one that many people find themselves lacking in at the workplace.
How we implement STEM at King’s Bangkok
Science and Technology is a fundamental part of every students’ education at King’s College International School Bangkok. In senior school, students from year 7 to year 9 all undertake two lessons per week in each of the three sciences, Chemistry, Biology and physics as well as a double lesson in Design Technology. They also attend 4 Maths lessons a week. Our head of Maths, Koren Sullivan, our Headmaster and Physics teacher, Tom Banyard, and Deputy Head (senior school) and Chemistry teacher, Matt Gibson, and Head of Science, Mr Will Byfield, have all joined the school from our sister school, King’s Wimbledon, where they taught for a combined period of over 25 years.
STEM is a core principle of the curriculum and the skills-based approach allows our students to explore their interests and develop knowledge and expertise in these key areas. The principle of STEM teaching is embedded with copious amounts of practical work which encourages students to take risks and become adept and experienced problem solvers.
Alongside the core lessons in the curriculum, there are many co-curricular clubs and opportunities for students to extend their knowledge beyond the IGCSE syllabus. Opportunities for extension classes and clubs in exciting fields such as robotics are plentiful. In year 10 and 11, all students will prepare for public exams in all three sciences and Maths, and all will have the opportunity to carry on with design technology if they wish to do so.
King’s Bangkok will be using the wealth of experience garnered from our relationship with King’s Wimbledon to ensure all students are engaged, extended and inspired to not only learn STEM, but also to love the subjects.
Learn more about education at King’s Bangkok
At King’s, we strive to provide the best in not only education but also development as a person for your child throughout primary and secondary schools. If you find yourself interested and would like more information, please contact us.