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ESA / GTTP Teacher Training Workshop 2013
Aims and description
This workshop was the fourth in a series organised by the European Space Agency (ESA) with the Galileo Teacher Training Programme (GTTP). Aimed at European science teachers of students between 11 and 19 years of age, the workshop was designed to provide participants with the opportunity to gain practical skills to enable them to enhance teaching of the physical sciences in a formal education environment.
Participants at the workshop were presented with innovative, and inspiring tools, and methods using astronomy and space science as a context to engage their students in the sciences, in particular physics. In addition to networking with their peers from across Europe, teachers were invited to present how they apply the context of ‘space’ to their lessons.
The workshop was devised to train the teachers with the intention of providing them with the necessary skills to then train colleagues in their home country. The aim was also to allow sufficient time to familiarise participants with the material presented to enable them to adapt it to the requirements of their students and national curricula after completion of the workshop.
The workshop programme was structured to provide a balance between theoretical and practical training, and sufficient discussion time. The theoretical training included lectures from ESA scientists presenting cutting-edge astronomy and space science, and the latest trends in science education. The practical training provided a variety of experiments and demonstrations that could easily be recreated in a classroom laboratory, as well as a number of computer-based activities, including the application of real spacecraft data in the classroom.
Post workshop evaluation
Feedback about the workshop was immediately captured from participating teachers in the form of an online evaluation survey. The constructive feedback received plays an important role in planning of future workshops and development of new recourses. Overall, the feedback received was excellent, with 100% of the participants stating that they would recommend this workshop to colleagues. All participants said that following the workshop: they had greater awareness of space education resources; felt more confident in using space education resources to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects; had developed new ideas for using space as a context for teaching STEM subjects.
On average, more than 85% said that they found the practical sessions across the 5 days of the workshop useful or very useful in terms of the new ideas and skills they learned and their application in the classroom. A new aspect to the workshop programme in 2013 was the addition of two practical sessions about the method of teaching using Inquiry Based Science Education. It was clear in the feedback received that these sessions were deemed by some participants to be the least useful part of the programme and require refinement ahead of future workshops. When asked if the sessions were long enough and informative enough to be able to train their colleagues to use the material presented, 20% participants felt that they would have liked more time during the week of the workshop to familiarise themselves with the material. This is an important consideration to take on board for the future to ensure that the aim of participants training colleagues in their home countries is fulfilled as far as possible. Many of the teachers did agree that sufficient time was allowed and have already made plans to disseminate what they have learned to their colleagues.
Overall, the workshop was a success, the Lorentz@Snellius is a great facility and we are very grateful for the excellent organisation provided by the Lorentz Center.