2012 Annual Science Report

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

EPO Activity: EPO Report on Telling Your Story: Workshops to Promote Scientist-Teacher Partnerships

Project Progress

We ran another in our series of successful Telling Your Story teacher-scientist partnership workshops in October of 2011. This workshop involved 27 K-12 teachers and 26 scientists (graduate students and post docs). Unlike our first workshop, this workshop expanded beyond the Earth and Spaces sciences to include other scientists in the Boston area, though we still recruited a number of graduate students and post docs from our MIT NAI team.

The Telling Your Story program aims to form collaborations between research scientists and K-12 teachers that will result in ongoing classroom visits by scientists, and lab visits by teachers and their students. The program brings together scientists and K-12 educators in a workshop that lets each group learn about, and from, the other. Scientists are taught effective communication skills appropriate for K-12 audiences, and work with teachers to develop ideas and formats for classroom visits. The workshop helps to create personal connections that foster lasting relationships.

The goal of the Telling Your Story program is threefold:
1) Create connections between local scientists and K-12 teachers.
2) Provide skills to scientists that they can take into K-12 classroom environments, and provide teachers with expectations for scientist visits.
3) Expose K-12 teachers to current research in the natural sciences.

The workshop focuses on getting scientists to tell the stories of their lives – not just of the scientific content they work on. The main portion of the workshop is spent in one-on-one or small group discussion between teachers and scientists where the teachers help the scientists hone their skills in communicating ideas to K-12 audiences and scientists share their content knowledge with the teachers.

In general, results from the first two workshops show that the TYS program made scientists feel more confident about going into a classroom and increased the likelihood that they would do so. For teachers, the workshop greatly increased their confidence in communicating with scientists and also greatly increased their desire to have a scientist come into their classroom.

The logistics of the program have now been taken over by MIT’s Edgerton Center. We continue to support the program and since it is included in our CAN 6 proposal we will continue to be involved in facilitation, evaluation, and participation in the coming years.

Results show percent change in response (on a scale from 1 to 5) to survey questions after participating in the TYS workshop. Participants were given a survey before the workshop, then answered the same questions at the end of the workshop.

{{ 3 }}