August 10, 2017
The Brillion News
Steve Meyer, previous Technology and Engineering teacher in the Brillion School District, spent the second and third weeks of the summer teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in Beijing, China. The ultimate goal of the trip was to meet with stakeholders in education and bring them up to speed on current practices in STEM education.
Meyer’s trip was organized through a private organization called STEMgarten Academy LLC, of which he is the Curriculum Director. Some of the goals of STEMgarten Academy are to help develop STEM education throughout China and to facilitate cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Meyer spent his time teaching elementary students, touring schools, meeting with teachers and administrators, and then talking with business leaders wanting to invest in STEM education. Some schools have been working on bringing STEM education methodologies to China, but nothing is widespread as of yet.
The current population of Beijing is approximately 22 million people. Beijing is China’s political, cultural, and educational center and home to the headquarters of most of China’s largest state-owned companies. The traditional education system in China concentrates more on memorization and mastery than problem solving and innovative thinking. Much of this is based on the importance of doing well on the national college entrance exam called the “Gaokao.”
The Gaokao is a very intense test that helps guide the future educational path of students. Much of the education methodology, both formal and informal, is to help students prepare to be successful on this test. China realizes that to continue to progress and be innovative, some education methods may need to be changed. Thus, the interest in STEM education and its emphasis on innovative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and a holistic understanding of how different academic disciplines are connected.
Please see the complete story and photos in the August 10, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.