by Guest Blogger:
Dr. Tom Peters
Executive Director and Devil’s Advocate
South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science
Nearly everyone I know has a story to tell about their first encounter with a four letter word.
Invariably, the humor underlying the story is derived from failure of the novice user or the person hearing the word to fully grasp its meaning. STEM is my current favorite four letter word and I’ve noticed that it gets tossed about in our profession much like other sorts of four letter words are used to fill otherwise empty space in rap song lyrics. Perhaps we should have stuck with SMET?
Like other four letter words I know, STEM is rather versatile. It is a noun, a verb, an adjective, and all the other parts of speech I’ve long forgotten how to name. Maybe that’s ok.
All humor aside, STEM is also a word now used in our profession in a matter of fact way even when there is little agreement as to what the word really means, especially when it comes to enacting STEM in real, live classrooms. We read the latest STEM report, attend the big STEM conference and hear the word uttered by anyone seeking a grant. We politely nod as though we understand and think, “I got to have me some of that STEM stuff.” Or maybe some STEMS or STEAM or STREAMS? Those have more letters so they must be better words. Continue reading