Back to School. What a great education system we have! Kindergarten through twelfth grade for every boy and girl. During this time each year, we reflect upon the educational opportunities that stand before our youth. We engineers start with a strong foundation when designing a structure. Something sturdy from which the rest can depend. Societies depend much the same way on youth as the foundation for a promising future. Pfefferkorn is passionate about fostering interest in science and mathematics in our youth. However, each student has different strengths and learning styles. We are not child development experts. But we WERE young once. And thoroughly confused by symbols and graphs.
During the great journey of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses, it wasn’t all talent and brilliance shining through at opportune times. There is a dirty little secret that should not be overlooked in STEM education. Even students who are not math whizzes or science geeks CAN and DO excel in technical professions. You see, it’s not the actual score a person gets on a math test that indicates potential. It’s the amount of time he or she is willing to spend at one problem. How long an individual will stick with it. Simple put, TENACITY. This secret is further detailed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: the Story of Success.
So as this school year starts up, resist the tendency to use grades as the only measure of potential. A significant risk to advancing STEM education is a child declaring prematurely he or she is not “good” at it. Let’s retrain our perception. Demonstrate empathy of learning challenging material, and encourage even just a few extra minutes on a tough problem. STEM education relies on teachers, parents and mentors all nurturing a strong future. We at PE2 are passionate about STEM education and fostering youth to be the next generation of problem solvers and designers.