“If you have the best idea in the world but you can’t communicate it to everybody else, then that idea stays locked up in your head.” ~ NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew
Astronaut Alvin Drew has experienced things that most people will never experience. A brilliant scientist and aerospace explorer, he has twice walked in space, and he has collaborated with colleagues from around the world on the International Space Station to learn about the far reaches of our widest frontier.
Despite his superior intellect and experience, however, Drew acknowledges a missing piece in his repertoire. When you have such amazing experiences as he has had, yet lack creative skills for communicating that experience to others, it can be very frustrating.
As a result, Drew has become an champion for the arts in education. He advocates that an “A” for arts and humanities should be added to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) acronym popular in education politics. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), he argues, is essential to education – to ensure that our advances in science and technical fields are meaningful to everyone, and to inspire creative innovation.
I think he has a point.
Far too often, scientific advances are dismissed and ignored because creative orators and manipulative political leaders have misdirected people for their own self interests. If our most innovative scientists lack the creative skills to communicate their discoveries, they can go unnoticed by a world hungry for innovation.
Also, too many creative youth may venture away from science and technical fields where they could have great impact, because their education in these subjects lacks inspiration for their creative spirits.
I agree with Drew that the arts should be intertwined in all aspects of education to inspire students to explore concepts more deeply, and to provide them with skills for sharing experiences and discoveries with others.
What do you think?