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The ACU research shows schools have an over-reliance on coding and robotics when it comes to STEM classes (ACU)

Academics are calling for the science curriculum to be overhauled, after an Australian Catholic University study found topics taught in classrooms have “little relevance to students’ lives” and real-world problems. Source: Herald Sun. 

Teachers are taking a “risk-averse” approach to their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) lessons by avoiding “hard” topics such as climate change, genetics, eugenics and food production in fear of sparking backlash within the school community, new research by ACU found.

Instead, teachers are focusing on digital technologies and the development of basic products and processes of science, which lead author associate professor Mellita Jones says has little benefit to combating future global challenges students will face.

“Our analysis shows STEM teaching and learning is predominantly devoid of links to authentic contexts or related to curriculum topics which have little relevance to students’ lives,” Associate Professor Jones said.

“The science curriculum is also quite sanitised. It doesn’t do enough to make connections to world socio-scientific issues and teachers struggle to map the curriculum to more authentic, real-world science.”

The ACU mathematics, science and technology expert feared Australia would “struggle to contribute anything of significance to address real world problems” if the current STEM curriculum didn’t change.

From the study’s findings, co-researcher Professor Vince Geiger called for an approach to science classes that would “engage learners as activists” to inspire them to take charge of local and global STEM-related issues.

“Our research shows schools are sticking to safe topics and have an over-reliance on coding and robotics when it comes to STEM teaching and learning,” he said.

“We need to support educators to focus on authentic and relevant topics in students’ lives, so they have the skills and knowledge to tackle significant social, political, and economic issues in an informed way through a STEM lens in the future.”


‘Science curriculum is sanitised’: New research reveals why STEM in schools needs to change (By Rebecca Borg, Herald Sun


STEM education must go beyond robotics and coding (ACU)