A Focus on Critical Thinking
Bringing the Power of STEAM to China
SIRI offers comprehensive STEAM teacher training, certification, and STEAM summer camps throughout China. SIRI is one of the preeminent STEAM research organizations operating within the bounds of the People’s Republic. SIRI has sponsored numerous STEAM seminars featuring prominent American academics and has operated STEAM training seminars that have affected thousands of Chinese citizens. In February of this year, SIRI organized a STEAM conference at Harvard University for a large delegation of Chinese STEAM teachers that featured lecturers from Harvard, MIT, and the Rhode Island School of Design. SIRI currently has a large staff presence the Hebei province diligently working to establish our first independent STEAM-focused secondary school.
For prospective Chinese parents, a natural question arises: Why STEAM? In the United States, the most apparent advantage of a STEAM education is the promise of increased achievement and engagement in science and math. By contrast, China’s science and math’s education system is so successful that it is the model for the world, with European nations flying in Chinese educators to turn their achievement scores around. And yet many Chinese continue to pursue American educations and because they want their children to be exposed to the American system’s special emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. The STEAM curriculum is professionally designed by educators to cultivate the creative potential of all its students. In fact, the STEAM methodology was specifically redesigned to target creativity.
The latest reformulation of the STEAM movement’s goals came with the addition of the A. Initially, the coalition did not include an added emphasis on artistic instruction and it became readily apparent over time that success in the jobs of the future will require not just the flexibility conferred by a grounding in STEM disciplines, but also the critical thinking and creativity generated by the arts. What distinguished Steve Jobs from major competitors was not his hardware’s efficiency but its aesthetics. Fostering a new generation of coders, designers, and digital artists is clearly as vital as producing a new generation of scientists and engineers.
Studying music, drama and literature also develops the empathy, presentation skills, and discipline that any real workplace requires. Finally, harnessing the singular power of art to captivate the imagination allows seemingly recreational pursuits to become a wellspring of enthusiasm for science itself. The would-be professional pianist may not make it to Carnegie Hall, but interest sparked by exposure to the physics of harmony may send her down the path toward other equally illustrious destinations.