by KellyAnn Bonnell, MA
In June, the Harvard Business Review published an article All Hail the Generalist, challenging the value of the specialist in our integrated world.
A collection of specialists creates a less flexible labor force, one that requires “retraining” with technological developments creating constantly shifting human resource needs. In this regard, the recent emphasis in American education on “job-specific” skills is disturbing. Within a company, employees skilled in numerous functions are more valuable as management can dynamically adjust their roles. Many forward-looking companies are specifically mandating multi-functional experience as a requirement for career progress.
Since our role as educators is to prepare our students to enter the future workforce, it becomes important for us to understand the implications this has on our instructional approach. If the employers of tomorrow want flexible thinkers, the educators of today need to provide instruction that supports such flexibility. We’ve been talking about integrated instruction for many years. It’s time we picked up the pace and upheld our part of the workforce development bargain.
I’m not saying we need to sacrifice depth for breadth in this conversation. What I’m saying is that we need deepen content knowledge by broadening the contexts in which such content is experienced. That’s why the League of Extraordinary Academics believes so ardently in the importance of STEAM education. It allows us to integrate sciences and arts. There is a place for language arts in math. Science in visual art. Technology in the humanities.
Recently I ran across a Power Point presentation that does an excellent job of explaining the importance of STEAM Integration. You can look at it here.
Thanks to the people at www.steamedu.com for putting it together.