Francesca Gale – Connecting Science Public Engagement. United Kingdom
Research has shown that a shortage of women working in science and technology could be exacerbated by gender discrimination taking place early on in life. Children are being influenced by gender-based beliefs as early as 4 or 5 years old. Teachers can play a key role in challenging these narrow views in the classroom before they become too entrenched. There is also an impact on the gendered expectations and awareness of career choices that start as young as 8 years old, with boys more likely to be interested in jobs related to the physical sciences and girls in those related to health/biological sciences. There are also socio-economic influencers in career choices.
Science for Everyone is a pilot programme for Primary school teachers raising awareness of unconscious bias and stereotype threat in the classroom. The programme includes a training workshop and tool kit with bespoke STEM bias tests around gender, ethnicity, and class, career cards for students and teachers highlighting diverse and gender-balanced roles in the science sector as well as the relatable skills and characteristics of the individuals in those roles. The toolkit is supported by classroom resources that encourage teachers to set challenges that build science capital and encourage non-stereotypical experiences around STEM.
The Insight talk will discuss Science for Everyone and the experiences of the first cohort of participants taking part in the programme.
This session is not about Science Education, rather it is about how experiences in a child's formative years can be such an early influencer for perceptions around science and technology.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.