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揭秘STEM项目的成功五因素

2016-03-02金蜜蜂Liesbeth Reynders 编译|胡文娟0

在科学、技术、教育和数学(STEM)领域,建立商业-教育伙伴关系的必要性越来越明显。为此,大量由企业发起的行动倡议应运而生,旨在填补这一缺口。

作为CSREurope“就业技能运动”的一部分,我们近期参观访问了若干会员公司,这些公司在STEM项目上进展不错。站在企业的角度更好地理解这些项目的成功之处,正是我们此行的目的。

访问项目包括:

美国强生:“就业之桥”(Bridge to Employment)计划,该项目在强生位于因弗内斯的所属公司LifeScan Scotland;

安进公司:“安进生物技术体验”(AmgenBiotech Experience)计划,与剑桥大学教育学院合作,科学学习网络联盟、中央与伦敦、SE地区协助;

IBM公司:“教师尝试科学”(Teachers Try Science)项目、STEM课程系列和可下载“活动包”共同构成了STEM志愿者活动的支柱,这些通常与VHTO、Jet-Net等教育机构以及学校等相呼应。

STEM项目成功五要素

1.指派专人负责

第一条原则是基础性的:如果不是“心血来潮”的话,你就得花时间在STEM项目上。换句话说,你需要专门指定一位经理,且让他/她有充足的时间来计划和协调整个项目。另外,项目开始前要做好准备工作而不是仓促行事,要将学生和校方的利益贯穿到活动筹备的每一刻,并事先获取其它利益相关方的信任。

2.与利益相关方真正合作

大多数企业管理人员并不熟悉教育领域,也不太能够理解游戏在教育中的特殊性和挑战性。因此,在设立STEM项目时,与其他利益相关方尤其是教育专家的协作显得非常重要。与此同等重要的还有真正的多方合作,即利益相关方不再只做咨询、确认的事务,而是要作为合作伙伴参与到项目的每一阶段。

同自己闷头做项目相比,这种类型的合作能够扩大项目的影响力和成果。在合作中,你可以慢慢走入教育圈且获得他们的经验,而这些正好是公司看中的核心竞争力。

3.同目标群体建立长期关系

不管项目的聚焦点是老师还是学生,要想实现影响力最大化,就必须同目标受众建立长期联系。对于那些需要在学习和未来职业上作出重要决定的年轻人来说,一次性事件确实能够起到附加的推动作用,但要想达到持久影响,就需要面向受众开展持续不断的活动:如定期组织聚会——让学生们聚到一起,参加STEM的相关活动。

打个比方,通过追踪学生三年内不同阶段的表现,公司提供相应的指导,同时学校也要配备良好的职业发展规划培训——老师能够每年回归到学生中,同学生交流经验并更新他们的在课堂资源方面的知识。

4.确保连续性

从零开始做项目本身就很困难,再加上公司和教育界的利益相关方也都不太愿意看到失败。因此,当一个好的项目创建后,一定要确保其延续性。

要做到这一点,首先,你需要得到公司高层的支持。其次,通过扩大项目框架和引入更多公司参与来增加项目的弹性。如此一来,项目延续与否就不能只由一家公司决定了。当然,这样做也会带来负面效应,即增加管理程序,削减了作为独立公司控制议程的灵活性。

5.注重实践活动,将课堂与现实生活相连

学生通常被置于“单向接听”的模式,因此,在活动中让年轻人去“做”很重要,通过动手实践让学生对自己以及自己所学学科的未来更有信心。在学生面前,将课堂理论同现实创新连接起来,展现成为STEM学科一员的激动与兴奋。

同时,要勇于挑战固有观念,即学习STEM学科的人没有办法做出对社会有意义的、对社会的工作。要大声告诉大家,STEM实际上是可以改变世界的。要让公司意识到STEM不再是可有可无。

不过,我们需要确定真正聚焦于正确的事情。为此,CSR Europe着手创建了一项“基准评测工具”,来帮助公司增强STEM项目的影响力。名为STEM-π(π=规划影响)的工具将上述成功要素集合起来,有助于企业管理人员明白如何增加活动的潜在影响力,进而改变年轻人在STEM领域内学习或工作的选择。我们希望通过这种方式,为填补技能缺口做出贡献。

(本文于2014年11月5日发表在CSR Europe“企业2010”博客,作者Liesbeth Reynders是CSREurope的项目经理)


老于点评:

STEM与“大众创业”

我第一份工作和教育相关,对此我颇为自豪。在从事CSR和可持续发展相关工作之后,我更是认为,企业应该支持教育,不仅为社会,而且也为自身未来的人才。

大约3年前,我也开始关注STEM,并且希望更多的企业在支持教育时,选择STEM项目,特别是那些技术性、工程型的企业。为此,我和西门子中国、上海贝尔等知名公司的CSR负责人都沟通过,遗憾的是没有结果。我对他们说,你可以帮助学校改善教学条件,但你更应该支持STEM项目,中国的教育需要,中国的社会发展需要,你的公司也需要。

我这么说不是没有依据,美国在发布于2011年的一份《人力资源调查报告》中指出:超过一半的美国雇主发现自己很难找到具备高等数学、高等物理、高等化学知识的员工,而这些知识却是工作当中必须掌握的。西门子的报告称:2012年,该公司原计划在美国招收3000多个员工,但在招聘当中却发现仅有10%的应征者能够顺利通过STEM能力测试,这也就意味着90%的应征者未能从学校教育中获取胜任这3000个职位的能力。

今天,在中国倡导“大众创业,万众创新”的背景下,STEM显得更为重要。无论是创业还是创新,都是需要科学为基础的,仅仅依靠拍脑袋,即使能拍出成果,拍出的也只能是泡沫。在“创客”、“创变客”成为热词的时候,我们应该清醒地意识到,他们身上最基本的素质应该是科学,最大的能力应该是综合运用工程、技术和数学这些看似基本但又不可或缺的能力。

还是那句话:那些技术型的公司,在你瞄准帮困教育的时候,更多聚集STEM,这会是你的最大价值。


以下是英文原文

CSR Europecompany visits reveal five success factors for high performing STEM projects

As the need forbusiness-education partnerships more and more apparent, especially in thefields of Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM), a multitude of(company-led) initiatives have emerged to close this gap.

As part of the CSREurope’s Skills for Jobs campaign, we recently went on a tour to visit a numberof member companies with successful STEM projects to understand better whatmakes these initiatives work from a company point of view.

Projects visitedinclude:

Johnson &Johnson: the Bridge toEmployment programmeat the LifeScan Scotland site in Inverness

Amgen: the Amgen Biotech Experience, coordinated by The Science LearningNetwork Consortium, Central and London, SE Regions, in collaboration withUniversity of Cambridge Faculty of Education

IBM: TeachersTryScience and a range of STEM lessons anddownloadableactivity kits are the backbone of STEM activities byvolunteers, very often in concert with education organizations like VHTO and Jet-Net and schools.

While eachcompany’s approach is different, experiencing these practical programmes on theground has helped identify of a number of common success factors.

Five factorsfor STEM project success

1.Assign people with time

The firstprinciple is very basic: if you want to do more than ad-hoc activities, youwill need to spend time on it. Meaning you will have to assign a dedicatedmanager that can spend a good deal off his/her time on the planning andcoordination of activities. Also do not underestimate the importance of thepreparatory phase: it’s better to take as long as you need to think youractivities through with students and schools and to build trust with otherstakeholders involved, than to see the project fail because you rushed into ittoo quickly.

2.Enter into real collaborations with relevant stakeholders

Few companyprofessionals stand close enough to the educational world to understand thespecificities and challenges at play in this environment. Therefore, whensetting up STEM programmes, it’s essential to enter into collaboration withother stakeholders, especially educational experts. It’s equally important thatthese are real collaborations, where stakeholders are engaged as partners ineach step of the process and not just consulted as a quick check in between.

This type ofcollaboration will help you extend the reach of your programme way beyond whatyou would be able to do by yourself, as you can draw on the networks andexperience of people that are more familiar with the educational system thanyou are while your company focusses on its core competence.

3.Enter in a long-term engagement with your target group

Whether yourprogramme is focusing on teachers or students, you will have the most impact ifyou engage with your target audience over a longer period of time. One-offevents can definitely serve as an additional push, especially at points whereyoung people need to make important decisions about their future studies orcareers. However, to have a lasting impact you need to offer continuation:regular gatherings where the same students come together for STEM-relatedactivities. For example, a company could mentor students by following them atdifferent intervals over a 3 year period. Likewise, professional developmentprogrammes work well when teachers are enabled to come back year after year toexchange experiences and update their knowledge on new classroom resources.

4.Ensure continuity

Starting fromscratch is not easy and companies have a limited license to fail witheducational stakeholders. So when a good programme is established, make sure itcontinues. To do so, you need to make sure that you gain senior managementbuy-in (e.g. by showing the impact of what you are doing in terms of reputationand visibility within the community, employee engagement, recruitment cost), butyou can also try to increase the resilience of your project by embedding it ina larger structure involving other companies. This way the continuation doesnot only depend on your company’s decision. The counter effect is of coursethat it will add an administrative layer and reduce the flexibility you have asa company to steer the agenda.

Take into account,also, that a wealth of initiatives already exist (an estimated 4.000 – 6.000 inEurope alone) that can draw on a lot of experience and lessons learned toensure the quality of their activities. So if the need you identified isalready addressed by an existing initiative, consider lending your support andpartnering with other companies rather than setting up a new venture –this will extend the reach of the existing program and is more sustainable andcost-effective over the longer-term.

5.Focus on hands-on activities, that connect what pupils see in the classroom with real-life applications

Students are toooften left in a ‘listen-only’ mode. Make sure your activities allow youngpeople to DO something, and not just anything! Make sure that doing it makesthem more confident that, one day, they will also be able to take on the roleof a STEM professional.

Demonstrate theexcitement of being a STEM professional, by showing how classroom theoryconnects to groundbreaking innovations. Challenge the belief that studying STEMsubjects will not lead to jobs in which they can contribute to society in ameaningful way, show them that STEM, actually, can change the world!

STEM is no longera ‘nice to have’ and companies are realising this. However, we need to makesure that we focus our efforts on the right things. That is why CSR Europe hasset out to create a benchmark assessment tool to help companies increase theimpact of their STEM activities. The tool, which is called STEM-π (π =Programme Impact), pulls together success factors like the ones above and willhelp company professionals to see how they can increase the potential forimpact of their activities in terms of influencing a young person’s choice fora study or career in STEM. This way, we hope to make our contribution toclosing the skills gap.

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