Friday, October 27, 2017

Moving from STEM to STEAM in Australia

     "Poets," said Australian writer and teacher Erica Jolly, "find their themes in what matters to them."  This quote is taken from Jennifer Strauss's introduction to Jolly's poetry collection, Making a Stand  (Wakefield Press, 2015).  Erica Jolly is a retired teacher of history and English in southern Australia and works tirelessly toward ending the segregation between STEM disciplines and the arts and humanities.  In the lines below (taken from Making a Stand), Jolly is responding to words from former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb who has said, speaking of mathematics, that he wants "all of us in the same tent."

Erica Jolly:   If he does, we must remove segregation of students 
          into supposedly separate cultures of science and mathematics versus 
          the arts and humanities as well as the unwillingness for STEM 
          to make interdisciplinary connections.

               Don't I as one of those deemed
               inappropriate for that elite
               have the right to access
               their language?

               to algebra, that Arabic word,
               giving me letters in place
               of apples or oranges to
               solve problems   

               to know what binary means
               and be aware of the way
               two numbers -- one and
               nought -- affect us all

               to find in Alice in Wonderland
               the work and words of that
               lecturer in mathematics
               Lewis Carroll,

               to discover diagrams, diagonals
               and the diameter of circles,
               draw them with ruler,
               pencil or compass

               to learn about and not to fear
               equations, recognize that
               an equilateral triangle
               has equal angles . . .

Jolly's poem continues for more than thirty stanzas.  The complete poem is found in  Making a Stand  (Wakefield Press, 2015).   More of Erica Jolly's political and poetical contributions can be discovered in this blog using this link to SEARCH results.

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