(Or, Why the STEM Kids Need Our Classes)
An item on my news crawl this week confirmed what we all already know – businesses are looking to hire a legion of engineers and accountants. (Apparently, the nation also needs an army of educators to fill our current shortage, but this specific article didn’t get into all of that.)
The real news, at least for me, was buried in the middle of the article. Yes, Corporate America needs to hire lots of math and science majors, but when asked what specific skills those graduates should possess, the skill set starts to look suspiciously like a list from our English classes.
Take, for example, this nugget:
All of this reminds me of Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. Left-brained tasks (yes, those math and science skills) are “necessary but no longer sufficient” for workers to thrive in the new ecomony, he warns. Students need both left-brain logic and right-brain creativity. Many of today’s coveted engineering jobs, Pink argues, will soon be lost to automation of technology (computers are actually being taught to write code all on their own – whoa!) and international job competition. The reality of today’s global marketplace should be sobering to our STEM kids. According to Entrepeneur magazine, the average annual salary of engineers last year in the U.S. was $83,000, while similar work could by done by engineers in India for just $24,000.
To make sure our students are well-positioned to find meaning and success throughout their careers, we must develop their abilities to think through a problem, design a solution, work like maniacs to build something great, and then communicate their creation to the world. Sounds like there’s plenty of work here for teachers in every department, from STEM to the sweet fruit of ELA.
Teach on, everyone!