Steam On With STEM!

Steam On With STEM!

Most of us are easily moulded and influenced by our educators throughout our early childhood. Likewise, the unequal distribution of men and women in educational and occupational fields contributes to gender stereotypes that women are a more natural fit in expressive and human-centered careers, and men are better suited to technical and math-intensive fields (Charles & Bradley, 2009). These reinforced behaviours by educators and parents can lead to a lack of opportunities and self-confidence in girls to pursue science and mathematics. It’s not surprising, then, that girls desire to turn their back on doing mathematics by the time they reach Years 5 and 6 (AMSI, 2019; Lavy & Sand, 2018). This is also later reflected in the fact that a quarter of females opt not to study mathematics in their final years of high school (Sedghi, 2015).

Bala and Singhal (2019) note the job prospect implications of women’s neglect of studying higher mathematics, shutting out women from working in the growing fields of STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In turn, it can be harder for women to become employable, further exacerbated by the increasing competitiveness of the workplace and uncertain global world challenges (Chesky & Wolfmeyer, 2015). Women make up nearly 50 per cent of the workforce in non-STEM occupations but only 39.7 per cent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related jobs (DESE, 2019). Excelsia is committed to improving STEM’s gender diversity and inclusion in the emerging fields of science, technology, education, and mathematics, and encourage greater female participation. As Einstein himself noted: ‘The greatest scientists are artists as well’ (Bucksbaum & Gates, 2020). 

When a person says they aren’t good at mathematics, it’s their mindset talking, not their ability. Researcher Jo Boaler’s (Stanford Graduate School of Education, n.d) 2018 work explores mathematics and its connection with a growth mindset. Dr Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has also explored the ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’ theories (Dweck, 2016). Dweck explains that individuals who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others have a growth mindset and tend to achieve more. Comparatively, individuals with a fixed mindset, who believe their talents are innate gifts and can’t be learnt, are more closed off. Like Dweck and Boaler, 

Excelsia’s Master of Education Research (STEM) is designed for postgraduate students and international students who are living in Australia. People from non-education backgrounds may benefit from the course, especially if they want to educate within their industry. A scientist, for example, could complete their Master of Research in STEM and use their acquired knowledge to educate their colleagues. Employment is no longer guaranteed so you need to upskill. Getting a master’s where you’ve got an education slant gives you an edge that others don’t have. Labour force data by the Department of Jobs and Small Business revealed a growth of 16.5 per cent in employment in STEM occupations between November 2013 and November 2018. This is 1.6 times higher than the growth rate in non-STEM jobs (DESE, 2019). Furthermore, graduates of STEM areas earn $10,000 per year more than their non-STEM counterparts (Good Education Media, 2016). The OECD Report: Trends Shaping Education: Spotlight 15 (OECD, 2018) for technology notes the growing demand for industrial robots worldwide over the past decade. This is being driven largely by the Asian market, closely followed by the demand for electrical or electronic goods, which all involve STEM.

A STEM education can help to form a strong foundation to engage in global issues such as climate change, advancing medicine, artificial intelligence and how to make education accessible around the world. Thanks to a background in STEM, two app developers are using their knowledge to develop Maqsad, an app that helps make education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students (Park, 2021). Currently, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children, with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5 to 16 not attending school, representing 44 per cent of the total population in this age group (Unicef, 2021). 

Semester 1 of Excelsia’s Master of Education Research (STEM) starts 15 November 2021. For more information on the course, please visit the Excelsia College website. Remember to steam on with STEM!


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