Education needs to be transformed if it is going to adequately equip our future generations for the 21st century. While the skills and knowledge traditionally taught within the educational system remain crucial, it is essential that these are coupled with the development of qualities, such as the ability to continue learning and adapting, creativity, collaboration and social understanding. Howard Gardener, renowned psychologist, researcher and writer has spent years studying the human brain and identified five “minds” that need to be cultivated both within education and the workplace if we are to survive and thrive in the future. They are as follows:
- The disciplined mind, which takes the time to master at least one way of thinking and works steadily to improve skills and understanding;
- The synthesising mind, which takes information from multiple sources and brings it together to make sense of it to himself and others;
- The creative mind, which is able to break new ground and come up with new ideas;
- The respectful mind, which welcomes differences between individuals, takes the time to understand them and finds ways to work effectively with them; and
- The ethical mind, which considers how individuals can work to serve purposes beyond their own self-interest.
We believe that all five of these minds can be cultivated through STEAM education. By being exposed to the application of multiple disciplines, students are given the opportunity to identify which professions they would like to pursue further and master in the future. Through the integration of these disciplines and collaboration with others, students are encouraged to synthesise information from multiple sources. The freedom given to the students to make and create things encourages creativity. Interaction with community members and working within diverse teams encourages respect and understanding, and the consideration of how their creations can have a positive community impact encourages them to see beyond themselves. By following the STEAM approach we get to help cultivate the minds of the future and give our future generations the opportunity to thrive.