PROMISE: Promotion of Migrants in Science Education

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The goal of PROMISE was to promote migrants in science education and in choosing science careers through student exchanges in university science clubs, teacher training and developing culturally, linguistically and gender-sensitive teaching material.

PROMISE aimed to promote young people who are underprivileged owing to a migration background and their socioeconomic status, in science education and in choosing science careers. This was done both directly by promoting girls in Austria, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey to work in science clubs at partner universities (International Clubs Lise), and indirectly by organising teacher training and developing culturally, linguistically and gender-sensitive teaching materials.

The migrants addressed were children of immigrants for economic and political reasons. PROMISE paid special attention to harmonising the different methods and standards in science education in their countries of origin and the countries of residence through intense cooperation between these countries, as it was considered that, in addition to linguistic and cultural communication problems, the country-specific differences in science education were hampering the successful integration of young migrants.

PROMISE had a three-fold package of activities:

1. Direct promotion of migrant girls at universities by establishing Clubs Lise, international girls’ working groups on topics of science, to promote science studies for migrant girls, as they are the most underrepresented group in science. Clubs Lise were established at all partner universities. Acknowledging the gender dimension in science as a male-dominated field, the girls worked together with female scientists and science students with a migration background as role models for their own science careers.

Club Lise included laboratory work, visits to lectures and intense international cooperation. The idea was that the young students get experience of working in international working groups as this is common in scientific research groups at universities.

2. To effect a medium-term promotion of migrants in science education, PROMISE -teams consisting of teachers and education scientists cooperated with experts on migration, language and intercultural research to develop new methods and best practices in intercultural science education, considering the linguistic and cultural diversity of classes. The focus was to investigate the barriers (e.g. language and communication, social and cultural background) that hamper migrants when learning science, and to investigate teachers’ difficulties when teaching science in classes of cultural diversity.

3. To establish a long-term promotion of migrants in science education, specific teacher trainings were institutionalised. For the purpose of harmonisation of methods of science education a dialogue between countries of origin and residence, and between universities and schools, was established.


The focuses of the different PROMISE partners can be seen at http://www.promise.at/cms/index.php?id=555&type=2#1281

Basic information

Country: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Turkey

Coordinator: Klaus Starl, ETC Graz, http://www.etc-graz.at

Programme: FP6

Project Acronym:

Target groups: secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, youth clubs

Topic: Physics

Start year: 2005

End year: 2007

Url: http://www.promise.at

Contact person: Klaus Starl, klaus.starl (at) tetc-graz.at
Tanja Tajmel, tanja.tajmel (at) physik.hu-berlin.de

To develop methods and best practices in intercultural science education, PROMISE teachers and education scientists cooperated with experts on migration, language and intercultural research. Also the barriers (e.g. language and communication, social and cultural background) that hamper migrants when learning science were investigated, as well as teachers’ difficulties when teaching science in cultural diversity.

As a result, best practices for science lessons in multicultural and/or multilingual classes were drafted, as well as suggestions for school authorities.

PROMISE considered that a harmonisation of the different science education systems would lower the barriers hampering migrants’ adaptation to a different education system. Harmonisation of science education meant respecting the cultural diversities, identifying the commonalities, learning from each other the good practices in science teaching, detecting elements which are counterproductive to a successful intercultural education and counterproductive to motivating girls, and creating together methods for successful intercultural science lessons.

The results are presented in a printed booklet and a DVD “Science Education Unlimited – Equal Opportunities in Learning Science” (Tanja Tajmel and Klaus Starl, 2008).

PROMISE -teams aimed to develop new methods and best practices in intercultural science education taking into account the linguistic and cultural diversity of classes and students with migration background. The focus was to overcome the barriers (e.g. language and communication, social and cultural background) that hamper migrants when learning science, and to investigate teachers’ difficulties when teaching science in classes of cultural diversity.

As a result, best practices of science lessons for multicultural and/or multilingual classes were drafted, as well as suggestions for school authorities.

Some of the results are presented in the two online articles “Development of Science Lessons”, and in the printed booklet and DVD “Science Education Unlimited – Equal Opportunities in Learning Science” (Tanja Tajmel and Klaus Starl, 2008).

 

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