Science in Schools
A programme combining Science, Schools and English language is inspiring French school pupils to engage with science in a new way.
Science in Schools offers hands-on practical workshops which bring young STEM researchers from the UK to French classrooms to explain their work in a new and stimulating way – in English. Workshops on research ranging from atmospheric chemistry to human bones as well as aeronautics, maths and astrophysics have impressed pupils and teachers across the country, even in some of the most challenging teaching environments.
Researchers offer a roadshow of workshops on their subject over a week, moving from school to school and even sometimes inviting pupils into local university laboratories to carry out their sessions. Pupils react very positively to hearing from young researchers first hand, learning about their interesting and often fun research and also how they got involved in science in the first place. Often pupils are surprised to find out that science and scientists are not at all as they had expected. The teams of men and women we work with come from diverse backgrounds and have followed various STEM trajectories.
Delivering science communication entirely in English adds a level of interest and a new learning dimension that supports both STEM teachers and language teachers.
Coordinator: British Council, https://www.britishcouncil.fr/programmes/education/ecoles/science-schools
Target groups: education authorities, policy makers, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, vocational school students
Topic: Biology, Computer science, Chemistry, Energy, Information technology, Maths, Software engineering
Start year: 2005
Contact person: Irene Daumur, Email: irene.daumur (at) britishcouncil.fr
52% of pupils who took part said they are more likely to engage with science at university, and that their English skills and self-esteem were also considerably improved. In some cases, the workshops were the first time that Science and English teachers worked together, deepening collaboration in cross-curriculum activities.
22% of pupils more likely to study science at university level after attending a SiS workshop
20% of pupils more likely to enter a scientific career
One surprised pupil commented: “For once, it’s great to hear science people using simple words to explain their research project. I think I could work in a scientific environment later on."
Playlist Science in Schools on YouTube
Preparation of the workshops both in the STEM and the language classes as well as follow-up activities are encouraged (teams send materials ahead of arrival). The programme contributes to in-service training needs and provides an ideal context for STEM and language teachers to work together. The workshops give teachers as well as pupils a real live opportunity to enhance a range of skills and competencies connected to STEM and English and also give a boost to self-esteem. Many pupils are surprised to discover that they can follow serious research and forget that the workshop is in English! Supporting lively, relevant and interconnected learning in this way contributes to the objectives of most education services who are striving to deliver transversal skills for the future like developing intercultural understanding and having a global perspective.