The Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Strategy aims to develop in staff, students and parents the awareness and importance of STEM education.
It aims to support initiatives to develop cross-disciplinary, critical and creative thinking skills, problem solving capabilities and the effective utilisation of digital technologies, which are essential in all 21st century occupations.
This STEM strategy is informed by the National STEM School Education Strategy 2016-2026 which maintains two goals:
GOAL 1 ....... to ensure all students finish school with strong foundational knowledge in STEM and related skills
GOAL 2 ....... to ensure that students are inspired to take on more challenging STEM subjects
The guiding Principles for schools to support STEM education contained in the National Strategy have been developed to guide school leaders in improving the focus on, and bring about change in STEM within the school environment. (Education Council, December 2015)
guiding principles for schools
- Create a school culture where the importance of STEM is recognised and valued, and there are high expectations for all students to engage with STEM education opportunities.
- Expose students (and their teachers) to a wide range of career options and information early to help increase STEM aspirations and engagement, ideally in primary school and continuing throughout high school, and involving parents and school communities where possible.
- Build on students’ curiosity and connect STEM learning to solving real world problems, including through collaborative and individual learning experiences that are hands-on and inquiry-based and support the achievement of deep knowledge.
- Recognise that STEM education approaches work best when supported by a whole-of-school collaborative effort.
- Encourage teachers to prioritise STEM content knowledge when determining their professional learning needs, given the rapidly changing nature of science and technology.
- Use school demographic data and the local context to guide choices about partnership and outreach programs, and consider how best to target student cohorts less likely to do STEM subjects or see the relevance of STEM-related skills.
- Consider how to evaluate new partnerships and learning approaches as part of program design, to determine whether change has occurred in student attitudes to STEM, and whether this translates into greater STEM achievement.
The five action areasThe CEDoW Strategy utilises the National Strategy’s action areas and describes actions at school and system level to guide improvement initiatives in STEM.
1. Increasing student STEM ability, engagement, participation and aspiration
2. Increasing teacher capacity and STEM teaching quality
3. Supporting STEM education opportunities within school systems
4. Facilitating effective partnerships with tertiary education providers, business and industry
5. Building a strong evidence base