STEM vs STEAM: A Look At Half-Brain Teaching

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Teach coding, get girls interested in all of these subjects. However you slice it, there’s a lot of focus on the logical and analytical brain functions these days. Many schools are cutting the ‘extras’ like art and music. While I firmly believe that students need to be well rounded and really need subjects like those to be considered more than ‘extra’, and while there are many people fighting to keep these programs in schools, you can’t deny that the international economy and jobs outlook is demanding more focus on STEM. But does that mean we should drop all focus on the other stuff?

The handy infographic below takes a look at why focusing on the skills of half our brain is not enough. It explores the functions of all parts of the brain (however simplified) and gives some insight into how the creative skills can help you a lot.

STEM vs. STEM

The Left Brain:

  • Controls muscles on the right side of the body, controls language, math, logic, speech, analytics, logistics, intellect.
  • Tends to prefer verbal instructions, talking and writing, and multiple choice tests

The Right Brain:

  • Controls muscles on the left side of the body, spatial abilities, facial recognition, visual imagery, arts and music, emotion, and creativity
  • Tends to prefer demonstrated instructions, drawing and manipulating objects and open ended questions

There has always been some discussion of being ‘right-brained’ or ‘left-brained’ – meaning that an individual may tend towards one set of characteristics or the other. Some examples of well known people who fall strongly into both categories are Steve Jobs, Marissa Mayer, Einstein, and Dong-Hoon Chang.  What do you think? Are you more right or left brained, or do you fall more into the middle? Do you think that being right or left brained is really possible? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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1 Comment

  1. Dr. Brian Bolden

    July 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    The “Arts” have been and always will be a necessary ingredient to truly fulfilling your ultimate potential…