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15 April 2010

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Amidst damning reports recently of science teachers shelving experiments, there is praise for British teaching from our continental neighbours. But are exciting science lessons enough to retain Britain's engineering prowess?

A pat on the back for our army of hard working, long-suffering British school teachers. Despite the recent poll showing that 96 per cent of teachers asked said they cut back on experiments, news comes from across the water that Europe looks up to our science teaching.

The EU have recently awarded funding for a new programme called REStARTS, which aims to make the teaching of physics (and in particular aeronautics) more exciting and relevant in schools in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Romania. Because of the UK's respected didactic methods in teaching science, our contribution to this new initiative is the educational analysis of the programme before it is rolled out more widely across Europe. The analysis is to be completed by the University of Leicester.

"In the UK, you do experiments," explains REStARTS Coordinator Patricia Corieri, "but here in Europe, we learn from black and white books, it's just boring."

The founding principal of REStARTS is a simple one. Teachers are good at teaching, scientists are good at doing science, and understanding its real life application. If you want to inspire and adequately prepare children and young people for future careers in scientific research and engineering, the two need to work together. More interesting, hands-on lessons will be devised, accompanied by trips to research laboratories to see how theories relate to current research.


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