Stephen F. DeAngelis wrote an article for Wired.com that asserts STEM education is the most effective way to teach children critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success in life. He cites several progressive thinkers that support his views including Vince Bertram, President and CEO of Project Lead The Way, Inc. and Naveen Jain, Entrepreneur and Founder of the World Innovation Institute.
Specifically, he notes that the US system of standardized, rote learning geared for tests is not working. Further, he notes findings that the latest round of international standardized test results showed American students lagged behind the rest of the world not just in math, science and reading, but in problem solving as well.
He quotes Javeen Navegar, who argues that the data shows that countries that teach their children how to solve problems are more successful than those who don’t:
“As repetitive tasks are eroded by technology and outsourcing, the ability to solve novel problems has become increasingly vital.” [“Countries that excel at problem-solving encourage critical thinking,” Financial Times, 19 May 2014]
DeAngelis agrees with Bertram that we must foster educational approaches that appeal to a child’s natural sense of curiosity.
“Children are born with a natural curiosity. Give a child a toy and watch him or her play for hours. Listen to the questions a child asks. Children have a thirst to understand things. But then they go to school. They are taught how to take tests, how to respond to questions — how to do school. At our own peril, we teach them compliance. We teach them that school isn’t a place for creativity. That must change.”
We at Driskill believe that curiosity is the starting point for problem solving and critical thinking. We believe in the power of curiosity to drive passion and the desire to figure things out. Curiosity is the starting point for innovation, leadership, and success in life.