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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

SHEM not STEM

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SHEM Social Skills, Honesty, Empathy, Manners

In reviewing current trends in education, we hear buzz words of how to reach our students. With a background in math and science and a former math teacher, STEM is important. STEM in my district is defined that students will learn the inquiry process through project based learning using science, technology, engineering, and math. Student learning is at the center of our definition; however, as an educator, mother, and an individual passionate to assist students to reach their potential, I am a huge believer that the focus should be on SHEM. We need to intentionally instruct students to have college and career social skills. These skills are not natural to many students and with the melting pot of cultures in our schools, these skills range drastically. Next, we need to model honesty and being "real" with our students. When a student has a lack of honesty, we need to remember to give a natural consequence and to keep in mind that they are children that require 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances to redeem the skill of honesty.

Next the E of Empathy, as defined in the Habits of Mind, provides students to put themselves in others situations to see other perspectives and views. This skill is mandatory for all professions regardless of gender, race, or age. Finally, the soft skill of using good manners. Manners are not necessarily social skills. Manners allow others to be comfortable around one another; they are a courtesy and a visual show of respect.

It only goes to show that the new buzz of the former soft skills are now the hard skills to survive and flourish in school and the workplace and that is what we are to be focused upon - College and Career Readiness.

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