Marriage- Science and Art together !

    May, and the British Royal Wedding providing great photos even to those not interested in the monarchy.  I think people feel good about William and Kate because they look like they will be able to meld forces while retaining individual personalities.  – Can Science and Art do the same?   They always are, as a quick trip to an Art Gallery (I suggest AGO if you haven’t been for a while) proves when one looks at materials used and the ways in which technology is incorporated within the works on display. 

The question was recently posed “how reading coaches could better work with the American focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, the Stem approach to learning”  and as a reading coach I realized that the artificial divide between the arts and the sciences is one I constantly bridge for true student literacy growth.

    As someone who has been Arts based and still has a strong desire to promote the arts in education I am constantly reminding science focused students how relevant “thinking through the arts” can be to develop the critical thinking skills that help one problem solve.  As I understand the Stem focus, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, to include not just memorization of facts but interpreting these facts to create new ideas and see a push for further encouraging the collaborative approach, and utilizing museums and other hands on out of classroom learning facilities, the trend may be to move to full holistic recognition of what Literacy means.  When I coach, I mix up and select materials from a wide base to build not only fluency with decoding but also to encourage the scaffolding students need to develop to be able to make connections for themselves.  Active reading involves comprehending and questioning material, when students are shown that new vocabulary is just a new way of expressing ideas and sometimes a shorthand for communicating, they feel empowered to use this vocabulary. The STEM focus can be a way of organizing readings so that a student is both learning how to tackle a new reading level and is having other curriculum material reviewed with the reading coach.  We already know to work in conjunction with the student’s regular teachers- certainly I find math problems in early grades often to be the function of a student’s inability to read and make sense of the word problem.  So, for example, in coaching reading with a student in grade five, I will also introduce math questions, or in working with the Engineering students now at University level but having difficulty with essay writing I will shift my teaching to focus on how the readings for a course become models for the students writing.  Yes – I just jumped to writing skills, because for me the reading and writing skills remain entwined.  I also keep handy a list of writers who have been or are science focused and share their scientific knowledge throughout a novel.   

Science and Art – made for each other.

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