Michael.O, Online English teacher, and researcher at Acadsoc.
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Education is a sector that has a track record of being the slowest to adapt and innovate. Most countries still have the conventional way of teaching and learning that comprises a teacher standing in front of the classroom in a cloud of chalk-dust. Online English teaching and Online English teachers are a bit different, but they still cannot set free from the education system in a certain country such as China. The teacher is still responsible for more than one subject, meaning that a teacher needs to be well-equipped on all subjects in order for the students to receive the same quality standard. The upside, for the lack of a better description, is the maintenance of a uniform standard – the downside, however, is the fact that if the teacher’s aptitude is low, then the students receive an inadequate standard of education. On top of it all, the general education system focuses so much more on quantity rather than the quality of work.
The above is true for the majority of the schools in the Chinese public education system. Students are engineered to be workers and not thinkers. They are engineered to think that hard work breeds success, of which is true, to a certain degree. The problem that exists, however, is greater than any success that is promised as a result of ‘consuming’ books on a daily basis. The world is changing, rapidly. Countries such as China may find themselves breeding MBA holders who are not thinkers and problem-solvers, but workers, with the majority of them not having any experience relating to the rapidly changing world – other than what they get from the classroom.
Finding solutions to this problem may be perceived as being daunting, but on the other hand, there is nothing to lose in the investment of time and money into projects like STEM Education in the journey to develop practical thinkers and problem-solvers who will not only change the way China’s students learn but influence another key industry that will accelerate the functionality of this world – artificial intelligence.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and encompasses a vast array of subjects that are associated with each of those topics. While it is virtually impossible to list every discipline under these topics, some common STEM areas include: aerospace engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, mathematical biology, nanotechnology, neurobiology, nuclear physics, physics, and robotics, among many, many others. As evidenced by the multitude of disciplines, it’s clear that STEM fields affect virtually every component of our everyday lives. STEM Education has gained so much traction in countries such as the United States of America, but another part of the world that need not be ignored is the traction that is building in the eastern part of the world, namely countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea. STEM Education is set to change the way in which students in China are to influence the role they play in the world, this in conjunction with its adoption of the English language through online companies such as Acadsoc.
Something that most people do not understand is that some of the most influential components of our present lives are influenced by strategists in the form of mathematicians, engineers, philosophers, and astrologists. Some of the most influential people in our history include names such as Albert Einstein – who is famous for his theory of Relativity, Henry Ford – an American entrepreneur and sponsor of the assembly line in mass production, the Wright Brothers – who conducted the first ever flight and whose blueprints have been adopted in so many airplane productions, and Isaac Newton – who is known and studied all over the world for his famous ‘Newton’s third law’ which states that “for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction’, this quote and law has been adopted by so many businesses throughout the world and even in the continued exploration of the artificial intelligence field. It is important to note that although not formally documented or segmented, the informal education still played a major role in these individuals’ success through trial and error and learning from mistakes and not repeating them – the essence of mankind’s progression and survival.
Looking back, some of the most notable advancement of engineering and technology include:
Born in 1736, it is sometimes said that James Watt got the idea for a steam engine while still a boy, watching steam lift the lid of his mother’s teakettle. The truth is that Watt did not invent the steam engine; however, he made major improvements on the inefficient steam engine of his time.
Born in, 1791 in London, England, Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction – if he moved a magnet through a loop of wire, the wire would become electrified. The “Faraday effect,” that proved that light and magnetic force are related. He invented the dynamo, which converted motion into electricity.
These two are some of the key players in our development history and some of the first adapters of the STEM into their development as movers and shakers of our progression as a people.
entrepreneurship is the ability to have a vision and hiring the best people equipped with the aptitude to achieve those goals. Names such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, are the exception – being the engineers and developers of their ideas and users of the STEM as a means of driving their ideas forth.
On the contrary, however, entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, and Robin Li, however, are entrepreneurs who are the best examples of people who had an idea and partnered up with people who could bring those ideas to life – and there is the crux of it all – collaboration. Through China’s adoption of STEM Education with the language of English and artificial intelligence, China can cement its position as a leader in the development of experts in the fields of the STEM.
The role of English as a language not only increases the efficiency in communication, but it is a language that can aid students in their development in the STEM fields. On top of that, it is important for scientists to equip themselves with the acumen necessary for them to succeed in all their tasks. Using a translator may not be the most practical way of doing things, not to mention the price factor. Most technological scripts and coding is done in the English language and students can exploit the opportunities that companies such as Acadsoc offer in order to strengthen their skills in the English language. A lot of students find the STEM subjects to be quite difficult and there is a theoretical aspect to it that students need to equip themselves with. Sadly though, many schools focus more on this theoretical aspect instead of the practical aspect to it. The integration of cellphones, tablets, and computers in the path to teaching STEM is sure to increase the ease of artificial intelligence integration into the classroom, but most importantly, give students the opportunity to be as practical as possible as they see their ideas come to life through their own hands.
A few ways of introducing STEM to non-English speakers would be to encourage that they use their native language at first and the focus on memorization and understanding through the following techniques:
Without any prejudice or undue influence, ask the students to try to express their future job in the STEM field in English. If they struggle, intervene in a way that does not make them feel stupid and inadequate. Encourage the limitless possibilities in that field. Most students do not respond well to criticism, but encouragement – and that’s what these students need, a push in the right direction through being encouraged.
Most practical students who like accounting, math, building, and engineering, usually do not pay attention to theory because they do not realize that it goes hand in hand with the practical aspect of things. Use tasks of building as a reward for focusing on the theory and putting in a concerted effort in understanding the theoretical aspect of things. English needs to present in a direct and practical manner and it involves a lot of logic and trial and error – it can be likened to math, just with words. Math is a series of rules and so is learning a new language. Being able to make the student see this means a whole new student develops right before the teachers’ eyes.
A simple ‘well done’ and a ‘good job’ is all that students ever need – and in a country like China, where students are shy to express their ideas and passion as a result of mounting pressure from teachers and society, the solution to issues like global warming may remain an idea in a demotivated student is society doesn’t encourage its future leaders.
We need more practical problem-solvers, innovators, and thinkers and as it stands, many students are shying away from STEM due to the difficulty of language and that barrier, China’s adoption of STEM Education and the collaboration with companies like Acadsoc may be the solution to increasing the number of students who will pursue careers in the STEM fields and eventually, change the world for the better.