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Promoting Language and STEAM as Human Rights in Education

Zehlia Babaci-Wilhite
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
James Valles, Jr.
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Promoting Language and STEAM as Human Rights in Education is not meant for the mathematician looking for technical mathematics. If you intend to read this book, open it with a mind willing to look at how Art (whether through linguistic devices, methods of communication, or methods of expression) can be used to foster creativity in a current pedagogy that may not cater to what a particular student needs.  
It struck me that my initial opinion on mathematics as the main topic was misguided. Personally, it took a couple of readings, and some quick skimming afterward as review/refresher, to see that even “language” is a bit of a misnomer. “Communication” would best describe what this book is trying to convey as missing from STEM education. Incorporating Art in various forms into STEM (thus creating STEAM) is how educators can personalize STEM. While this certainly encompasses language, in defining language and STEAM together as a human right in education, the authors of the book’s chapters collectively describe how communication is a necessary but often overlooked or neglected component of STEAM.
The book is divided into three sections. Part I discusses pedagogical tools that integrate linguistic and cultural rights into STEAM. Part II explores how technology, design thinking, engineering, and art can be interconnected. Part III delves into how art helps facilitate mathematics learning and even how art can be impactful in medicine. Each part in the book contains five chapters, written by a varied collection of academic experts from fields as diverse as education, mathematics, public health, art history, and linguistics (to name a few).
The initial chapters spend much time discussing how using a student’s native language is imperative to reaching the student on their level. Later chapters, though, explore how communication, as a part of STEAM, goes far beyond just how to converse by finding ways to bring Art into the world of STEM and thus enabling communication, creativity, and learning. 
Reading some of the chapters can be difficult. Errors in punctuation, grammar, and sometimes dense sentence structure can take away from the material. As mentioned before, the whole picture of what the book is presenting may not come into full view on a first reading. In trying to find the answer to the question “What should be the purpose of education?”, this book tries to present views into how communication, through language and art, can make STEM more accessible by fostering creativity and making education more humanistic and thus effective on a global scale.


James Valles, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, TX. He is currently an associate editor for Applications and Applied Mathematics: An International Journal.