Much of our learning for STEM so far has required us to interact with others in a cooperative and focussed manner. The best outcome is simply not achievable when working alone. This goes for both the teaching team and the students. Collaboration has been the key to our light bulb moments and our deeper understandings from which innovation has grown. We have learnt from each other throughout the whole process.

As a teacher this is reassuring to me, the Social emotional skills that we report and assess to are so interwoven with the curriculum of our STEM project that you can see them in action and make real time valuable observations of the children’s skills and knowledge within relationships as they learn.

The development of awareness of others, and establishment and maintenance of respectful relationships is in action when they share, collaborate, make observations and recommendations and work together.

An example of this is a student that for teachers in the grade level has always seemed distant and removed from other students in the class and seemingly finds it hard to establish social relationships, preferring to work alone than with others. Within a short time of the introduction to STEM she was engaged in leading a team to build together and achieve a goal. She had shown us that she was able to establish respectful boundaries with her peers, she demonstrated persistence and the ability to work collaboratively and independently.

As educators it is important for us to remember that by exposing the children in our care to a wide range of opportunities it allows us to truly see what they are capable of achieving. I know that sometimes we can think the relationship struggles that go with group work can be exhausting, it can lead us to think twice about the nature of our learning activities at times. However surely that’s all the more reason to keep exposing the students to situations where they can practise the social skills and personal development that they need in order to grow as humans and function in a capable and cooperative way in society as they grow up.

That’s what I will ultimately be proud of achieving with my students, and if the path to a higher level of social and emotional wellbeing and resilience is one that we can travel through engaging avenues like STEM projects, well, what a fantastic way to travel.

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