Career Practitioners Should Advocate for Maths and STEM Educators

Career development practitioners (CDPs) should play a vitally important role in the Australian Government’s “innovation agenda” and the focus on careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). CDPs’ current contribution to the innovation agenda is, however, marginal and unheard. The insignificance of the contribution is not for want of interest nor trying; for it is the case that the CDPs make a very contribution to the lives of students of all ages and education sectors. What is missing is a strategy for research and development for STEM careers, which is an irony given the R&D focus of the innovation agenda.

Here we argue that CDPs can speak to that agenda but only as an outcome of making a substantive contribution to solving crucial problems that cause diminished interest in STEM careers.

Much of the rhetoric of urgency in the innovation agenda echoes Australia’s performance on benchmark tests of literacy and numeracy (OECD, 2016) and hyperbole that Australia is “falling behind” its global competitors. In fact, the differences between the average of Australian students and the averages of some other industrial nations (e.g., Germany) may not be all that meaningful beyond statistical differences; however, quite marked differences are present in comparison with nations that have a central role in the economy of Asia Pacific (e.g., Korea, Japan). The blame for Australians students’ relatively weaker performance is sheeted home to teachers along with accusations that teachers are not sufficiently prepared to engage in the teaching of mathematics, which is the inherent language of science, technology, and engineering. Indeed, without M in the STEM, there is no S, T, and E. Continue reading “Career Practitioners Should Advocate for Maths and STEM Educators”