May 16, 2023
The recommendations are result of the Mutual Learning and Open Dialogue workshop with students and professors from WBC on their perspectives on RRI and STE(A)M, facilitated by Dalibor Drljaca, HRTD Cluster, held on April 27, 2023 during the WBC-RRI.NET event “Engaging Science with and for Youth” in Banja Luka.
How to make lectures in STE(A)M disciplines more interesting and engaging?
I TEACHERS SHOULD SHOW MORE CREATIVITY IN PREPARATION OF TEACHING MATERIALS
The teachers must recognize that the new generations (so called Generation Z) understand how to use current technologies in a variety of contexts. As a result, the teachers should cultivate their own creativity and skills to be able to grab students’/pupils’ attention with more interaction throughout the teaching process. The teacher should maintain the students’/pupils’ attention throughout the process, which may be accomplished by updating the teaching and employing various methods to engage students/pupils in the process. The lectures must be more than merely conversational. To balance the acquisition of theoretical and practical information, the presentations after the teacher’s discussion and explanation should be more interactive, with additional graphical or even multimedia components, where possible.
II CREATE A WELCOMING AND COLLABORATIVE WORKING ATMOSPHERE
The teacher, together with other relevant actors in schools, should try to provide as friendly an atmosphere as possible, but still a working atmosphere, during the teaching in class. It is vital to develop a welcoming and collaborative environment that will appeal to pupils. To gain and keep their attention, remove any extraneous distracting variables (sounds, noise, etc.) and make the instructor the focus of attention. With well-prepared interactive teaching materials and presentations, the instructor should employ various motivator strategies to encourage interaction and active participation of students/pupils. In any case, this welcoming and collaborative environment should not undermine targeted learning outcomes or instructional objectives. The goal is to create a good environment and stimulate students’/pupils’ interest in the teaching subject so that they can quickly absorb the planned information.
III ENGAGE THE STUDENTS/PUPILS INTO THE TEACHING PROCESS
To be able to actively learn, students/pupils should be more involved in the educational process. This may be accomplished by assigning them several or minor assignments to do at home and then present in class. E.g., during the following class, one student will prepare a presentation on a topic that will be taught, and the student will speak on behalf of the teacher with the teacher’s assistance and guidance. Another example is that a group of students would prepare a poster presentation or mind map of a lecture and explain it to other students/pupils in the class providing the practical example to other students in the class under the supervision of the teacher. This way, we educate students not only the essential information required to pass the course, but also additional skills such as presentation preparation, presentation program use, and critical thinking in crafting lecture material. This should lead to more active engagement by students/pupils and a more straightforward learning process.
IV INNOVATE THE TEACHING PROCESS WITH MORE INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS AND INTERACTION WITH STUDENTS/PUPILS
Traditional teaching approaches are out of date. Simply talking and putting notes on the board throughout the instruction shown that this is a boring technique to teach new knowledge, presenting a challenge of retaining students/pupils’ attention. Modern technologies have revolutionized every discipline of instruction, particularly within the sciences, where you may now have animated tales, movies, 3D models, graphics, and so on. The use of imagery to deliver the information is simpler to grasp and should hence be more prevalent in STE(A)M education. The teacher might reinvent the process of explaining the topic by adding various multimedia tools and information. To assess students’ knowledge, the teacher can utilize web-based programs (such as KAHOOT) or construct his own (such as Google Forms) and as a result, increase engagement while further developing students’/pupils’ IT abilities using these tools. In everyday practice, such an approach may be quite valuable in determining whether certain materials (topic) should be repeated if the students/pupils do not understand them properly.
V FIND A WAY TO SUPPORT EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS
Teachers can identify exceptional students/pupils who require more attention to maintain their interest and improve their greatness. The usual teaching procedure inhibits the instructor from devoting attention and time to these advanced students/pupils, thus the teacher must find a way to improve their involvement. The simplest approach is to allow them to function as instructors and convey certain complicated topics to others under the guidance and supervision of the teacher (mentoring). Furthermore, these pupils might be given increasingly difficult problems to solve and be rewarded for their efforts. This can have a beneficial impact on other students/pupils since they will see that their efforts will be recognized, and so their attention will be piqued.
How to engage and support female students in STE(A)M more?
I BREAK THE STEREOTYPES DURING THE TEACHING BY PROMOTING BEST EXAMPLES AND PRACTICES
The history of STE(A)M disciplines is replete with examples of good contributions made by female scholars to the advancement of science. Illustrating the issue with cases where these scholars contributed would assist raise awareness that STE(A)M fields are not just male-dominated. Increased promotion of female scientists can raise awareness and enthusiasm among female students/pupils while also assisting them in overcoming prejudices.
II CREATE TASKS FOR GROUP OF STUDENTS/PUPILS OF MIXED GENDER
Enrich the teaching process by assigning group tasks and ensuring that each group has an equal number of male and female students/pupils. Students/pupils will be able to see how gender differences might help to the enrichment of brainstorming and creativity throughout the assignment’s completion.
III DEDICATE MORE TIME AND EFFORTS IN WORKING WITH FEMALE STUDENTS/PUPILS THAT SHOW THE INTEREST IN STE(A)M
Female STE(A)M brilliant students/pupils sometimes discover their gift late in life. Experts believe that it is critical for females to be introduced to STE(A)M career possibilities as early as elementary school. This assistance should be maintained throughout secondary school, with efforts made to encourage students to pursue studies in STE(A)M disciplines. Discuss and advise female involvement in STE(A)M but avoid criticizing female students’/pupils’ decision to pursue STE(A)M disciplines. Rather, provide them encouragement and devote more time and effort to assisting them in achieving their goals.
IV ENCOURAGE FEMALE STUDENTS/PUPILS THAT THEY CAN DO ANYTHING
For students/pupils to go beyond stereotypes their teachers must first overcome them and become non-biased in terms of gender equality. Avoid providing any signals on what to do or what not to do (or shouldn’t do), but rather engage in debate and pose questions that encourage critical thinking. Encourage them to begin their careers in STE(A)M as soon as feasible. Help them uncover their gift rather than inhibit it. If they start using gender stereotypes, ask them questions such, “Does that seem fair?” or “Why would only girls (or boys) be able to do that?” Encourage their leadership abilities by providing opportunities for public speaking, teamwork, and decision-making in your classrooms, for example.
V COLLABORATE WITH PARENTS ON DEVELOPMENT OF INTEREST FOR TALENTED STUDENT’S/PUPIL’S
This is especially crucial for secondary school students, who are still minors with little understanding and experience with STE(A)M-related careers. Students/pupils require help in their career selections from both the school and their families. The family should be supportive and objective. As a result, if the teacher recognizes the pupil’s potential, he or she must talk to and counsel parents to assist the pupil in pursuing STE(A)M profession, regardless of their vision and interest in their child’s future, which might be influenced by local culture, ignorance, and other reasons. The teacher’s responsibility must be to assist them and their child in choosing the best future route.