Efforts to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education opportunities have increased dramatically within the last five years. However, some school systems are making the case for the addition of philosophy. In a recent study conducted with over 3,000 students in 48 schools across England, a new course was introduced to push students in discussion based curriculum. Incorporating concepts such as truth, justice and knowledge, with significant time used for silent reflection and generating good questions, students began learning how to build on good thoughts and ideas. The results were quite interesting. Kids who were given the opportunity to incorporate philosophy and rhetoric into their curriculum actually increased their math and reading scores.
What makes a balanced education? In the race to the top, educators sometimes neglect the arts, philosophy, rhetoric and communication. Maybe instead of focusing on developing STEM courses, learning communities need to make an effort to holistically educate our students. Social emotional learning, the arts, communication and STEM courses serve equal importance in the education and development of a balanced thinker for today’s society.