back to article Hong Kong wants to teach kids more STEM – once it's defined what that is

Hong Kong has proposed a new school curriculum packed with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) content – even though it lacks a working definition of STEM and its staff lack the skills to teach it. A new report [PDF] from a task force given the job of reviewing the territory’s school curriculum makes a …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    No need to cut subjects

    Consult a road range of scientists, techologists,engineers etc, get them to look at the cuurent curriculum to see how to incorporate stem items into existing classes.

    A simple example might be, in art classes introduce the tools for art, why do we use a brush? How does a brush work? With capillary action and the flexing of the bristles...

    In reading comprehension use passages that include stem content at the relevant level.

    As a ten year old I had a teacher who was an ex armourer on WWII aircraft, he taught us how and why a machine gun works, that brings me to the key to teaching anything, make it interesting to the audience you have.

  2. David Roberts

    Coding?

    Realistically, how many will actually need to code as part of their job?

    Maths, physics, chemistry, metal work, wood work all presumably count as STEM.

    All can come in useful in adult life.

    Logical thinking is more important.

    Although an appreciation of computer software, hardware and programming might make help desk staff in call centres a little more sympathetic to the caller's.

    Politicians seem to think that teaching kids to code will work magic.

    I'm still sceptical.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Coding?

      Coding is more about teaching about logical thinking than becoming a software engineer. But it may help people knock out a few spreadsheet formula too.

    2. Dante Alighieri
      Holmes

      Thinking

      I agree logical thinking would be a bonus.

      Critical thinking even more so.

      Why is often more important than how or process.

      A core requirement in healthcare settings and as often found as common sense.

  3. Insert sadsack pun here

    "Also in the review: an admission that teachers will need more training to teach STEM and understand how to weave it into the curriculum"

    You're too cynical here and when you say teachers "aren't up to the job". Of course when you change the curriculum around and introduce new content you have to train the teachers on how to do it. That's no different from needing to train people when you introduce new machinery or software in other workplaces. It's not an admission and doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the existing workforce because they don't already know how to do something that hasn't even been agreed upon yet!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >too cynical here and when you say teachers "aren't up to the job".

      Or you have a civil service system where the job of physics teacher goes to the person who best memorises an essay on the Chinese equivalent of Jane Austen

      Make teaching increasingly poorly paid, while tech jobs get better. See the quality of teachers fall. Decide to raise standards by demanding a teaching degree. Find people with useless degrees all get teaching degrees as a back up. Teachers unions insist on strict seniority rules to make sure these people get the jobs. Find that you have no teachers with high schools maths to teach STEM. So dumb down the curriculum and rig the standards so PE and cooking count as STEM - you meet the government targets.

      Of course this could only happen in a communist failed state - capitalism would naturally solve such a problem.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        now if only there were capitalist states out there to show this, rather than the centrally planned and stuffed up countries that have elections where one can choose between buzzword bombastics or bureaucratic bast*ds.

      2. David Roberts
        Trollface

        Capitalism

        Would offshore the work to somewhere cheaper so there is no point in teaching the locals STEM subjects they will never need.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern Latin and Greek

    In the old days, you studied Classics... now we study STEM. The reality though is that it is not what you study that is important, it’s the depth and how diligently you study it.

    Give me a good English major over 100 kids forced to sit through STEM classes.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Modern Latin and Greek

      >Give me a good English major over 100 kids forced to sit through STEM classes.

      You get an population that think both sides of the "is the Earth flat?" 'debate' are equally valid.

      With a set of politicians that know that making the cleverest debating points and the wittiest sound-bites make you correct

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: Modern Latin and Greek

        Disagree completely. While learning _some_ classics one reads the thoughts of competent politicians and leaders, eg Seneca or Marcus Auralius. Even an ancient Greek may contain wisdom. The classics also explore fundamental questions such as "What is a good life?" and "How does one live a good life given the difficulties that will happen ?" Having learned to think, discuss and use logic, one is able to use rote learning acquired skills more effectively. Using history one can integrate geometry to demonstrate how an ancient Greek accurately worked out the diameter of the Earth around 200 BC. Comment on flat earth is mere vituperation, demonstrating insufficient knowledge of the past. Or worse, someone who still believes 19th century propaganda. I rest my case.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Modern Latin and Greek

          Perhaps 200 years ago being able to make puns in Latin when you captured some bit of empire, safe in the knowledge that you could get some clever Indian chap to do the sums for you was enough for government - but that would hardly work today.

  5. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    As Hong Kong becoming more like mainland China all non-Stem subjects become just propaganda.

    At least Math and Physics are still the same, whatever propaganda is favoured in current education.

    1. Captain Boing

      you'd think... but apparently 2+2=4 is a result of white colonialism in today's clownworld

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9SiRNibD14&ab_channel=UCTScientist

      cue the pile-on

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

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