On October 4, 2019, we had a discussion at the Hungarian Natural History Museum about the future of Natural Sciences education, with the main question: who will teach children Natural Sciences in schools in 10-15 years. The theme of the workshop can be found here.
Nearly sixty people participated in the conversation. Elementary and high school teachers, university professors and education researchers, graduate students for teaching profession, high school students, representatives of companies from the for profit sector, and other interested people came along. This provided an opportunity for the different groups to talk, debate and build relationships within each group and with other sectors.
The participants at the end of the day left with some tangible action points, and they begin to work on implementation:
- Develop and spread practices where student is mentoring another student. The best chance the school has to orient students towards the teaching profession is with those pupils who equally like the subject matter and the activity of explaining to and helping their fellow students. Schools themselves and in cooperation (even primary and secondary schools) can continue to think, move, develop and share good practices.
- High school students should receive more guidance for the teaching profession. This is a task for both high schools and teacher training universities.
- More scholarship programs may be needed for high school students considering the teaching profession, for graduate students preparing to become a teacher, and for already active teachers too. Such an incentive can help starting a career, staying in the profession, and avoiding burnout. It was agreed that while nobody could take charge of the necessary financial circumstances instead of the state, but representatives of the for profit sector can take coordinating and exemplary action.
The above (and other emerging ideas) require the cooperation of different stakeholders. During the workshop, it became clear that there was determination and expectation from all sides. Schoolteachers and students, representatives of teacher training universities and the business community left at the end of the day with the resolve to look for and actively work on specific collaborative opportunities. In addition to its supporting and coordinating role, our Foundation may also be tasked with making a map of everything – programs, finished materials, initiatives, newsletters, etc. – exist already. Sharing access to these can be beneficial to all parties. In addition, we have already received some ideas for improvement of the Mobile Lab project just starting.