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letters | different approaches to knowledge

Engineering classes can foster creativity too

IT SEEMS that in his quest for a well-rounded education Carlo Rotella has not taken any classes in engineering or technical fields (“Humanities: The practical degree,” Op-Ed, June 21). Perhaps if he did, he would see that there is more than one way to be educated. In a humanities course, the student previews a subject, picks a thesis, then sets about proving it.

Engineers are taught to look at problems a different way. They start with a problem statement, conduct research, then brainstorm several possible solutions. The best solution to an engineering problem is not known until the end of the process.

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In my professional career I studied engineering, worked in the field for 10 years, and now have the privilege of teaching engineering classes at the high school level in the Belmont Public Schools. For myself and many students, this is how to access creativity and expression. It is not simply job training, but may well lead to a high paying job that values both creativity and technical skills.

Diane Brancazio

Cambridge

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