STEM education: a pathway to developing twenty-first century leadership and career skills
Literature in the field suggests that a disconnect exists between the way we teach in 2016, and the twenty-first century skills and competencies students need to succeed in our rapidly changing, technologically-driven, interconnected world. It appears that STEM education, which builds upon problem-based learning, project-based learning, inquiry, and social learning, aligns well with the twenty-first century skills students need for today’s workforce – particularly the leadership skills students need to bring about change. Therefore, this project’s critical question asks: How can STEM education be a pathway to developing twenty-first century leadership and career skills? To answer this question, the Architects of Change: STEM Leadership website was developed. The website’s activities, such as an Extreme Environments Unit and other STEM lessons, were created to align with the Grade 6 BC Ministry of Education curriculum. The Change from Within Leadership Development approach (created for this project and integrated into lessons) presents the notion of working from “the inside out,” developing intrapersonal domain skills as a means to then develop interpersonal domain skills, which are necessary for success in today’s society. Activities, lessons, templates, and resources were designed and presented for two levels of leadership development and inquiry. Feedback solicited from a group of education students, through written and scaled responses, suggested that the majority of respondents felt the website’s activities met the project’s primary goal of fostering leadership development through STEM education.