Friday, August 26, 2016

STEM and Philosophy?

Philosophers have always known that logic, critical thinking, and proper value judgements are the foundations of a productive and educated society.  Every discipline that we teach at university requires them.  Every practical life skill benefits from them.

Yet in our current academic climate, which puts "marketable" skills and economic efficiency above liberal education, Philosophy programs are being whittled down and judged as impractical.  Focus on STEM programs has become the new norm, to the exclusion of the liberal arts.

"Schools face relentless pressure to up their offerings in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. Few are making the case for philosophy."

In the following article (linked below), a case is made for bringing Philosophy back to its proper role, especially among middle school children:

"Kids who took the [philosophy] course increased math and reading scores by the equivalent of two extra months of teaching, even though the course was not designed to improve literacy or numeracy. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds saw an even bigger leap in performance: reading skills increased by four months, math by three months, and writing by two months. Teachers also reported a beneficial impact on students’ confidence and ability to listen to others."

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