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Using STEAM to drive active engagement in classrooms

In the last few years, policy makers all across the globe  have been trying to introduce reforms and evolve pedagogical approaches to make education more innovative and updated. It has often been observed that a constant over emphasis on attaining marks and scores on standardised tests act as huge barriers in the success of any kind of innovative and project based methodology. Due to which, instead of taking a deep dive into letting children create a personalised learning landscape, teaching in classrooms is forced to deflect back towards following a structured curriculum in strict confinement.

Over a period of time, classroom teaching is seen to have reached a critical point where creative and multidimensional thinking is getting hugely compromised, especially in countries like ours. Even though policy makers, educationists and teachers may want to break off the mould and shift towards active  pedagogical  teaching; systemic barriers pose a huge threat for their long term efficacy.

Learning methodologies

Maybe time has arrived where we need to actively start integrating problem solving teaching methodologies in classrooms, where children find relevance and meaning in what they study and learn. Many educationists world over are finding STEAM as a key step in the right direction. In such progressive learning methodologies as STEAM, students are given opportunities to construct their knowledge in a dynamic, real life and meaningful situation, giving a contextual reference to their curricular learning. Since students deal with real issues in a STEAM activity, contextual relevance of their learning gets established at the first stage of the problem solving process.

On one side, STEAM as a methodology has the power to engage students in a multidisciplinary approach, breaking boundaries between subjects, while on the other hand it provides a dynamic and relevant approach for Design theory to seep into the school system. This gives students not just a sense of satisfaction and engagement but an opportunity for role play, donning the hats of real scientists in a real world.


When we deeply study a STEAM module in action, it has the power to allow learning at a much deeper level in a child’s cognition. Skills for competent problem solving, coding and decoding problems at several layers gets integrated, unintentionally. Educators have observed how such approaches have helped organic emergence of Higher Order Thinking skills without any forced intervention. Knowledge acquisition happens with application in action.

If we are aiming at huge fundamental shifts from mere memorisation and compartmentalised learning towards holistic and deeper learning, then we need to introduce dynamic approaches towards learning, and give students more autonomy to shape their learning curve. Clearly, STEAM can be seen as an active driver promoted by OTOS for capturing a child’s engagement in classrooms and beyond.

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