Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (collectively called STEM) are instrumental to advancing our fundamental understanding of the world around us and play critical roles in helping us respond to the complex challenges that society is faced with today. Primary and post-primary curricula that integrate teaching and learning of STEM disciplines are increasingly common and are aimed at equipping the next generation with the required theoretical and practical knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to address societal challenges and to help them live justly, sustainably and with regard to the rights of others.
However, some barriers appear to be inhibiting effective STEM teaching and learning in classrooms worldwide. These include limited definitions of what STEM education comprises and a dearth of research-informed pedagogies to support teachers in implementing effective integrated STEM in classrooms. Furthermore, research literature suggests that integrated STEM approaches may risk side-lining the discrete disciplines of STEM, which could result in limited disciplinary understanding. Concerns have also been raised regarding teachers’ knowledge and skills in integrated STEM teaching, as well as the need for tried and tested educational resources and clear assessment criteria.
To address these and related issues, ALLEA (the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities) and the Royal Irish Academy (Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann) organised the symposium “International Reflections on STEM Education – Effective teaching and learning to address future challenges” on 25 October 2022 in Dublin. This Event Report summarises the views expressed during the discussions – the full programme of the symposium can be found here.