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Native Schools workshops go virtual

Native Scientist organised its first ever online workshop to connect pupils and scientists despite pandemic restrictions.

Native Scientist’s core programme, Native Schools, normally brings international scientists to the classroom, to talk about science with migrant pupils in their common heritage language. The current pandemic-related context poses some challenges to this model, but which are now being tackled by successfully bringing scientists and pupils together through online synchronous workshops.

At the beginning of March, Native Scientist held its first online workshop with 10-15 year old Portuguese-speaking pupils from Cuxhaven, in Northern Germany. They were joined by scientists Carolina Peralta and Hanna Fokt, who told them about biological clocks that exist in all living organisms and that help them adapt to different times of the day and the year, and about many bacteria living in (and on) our body that help us stay healthy and digest food.

The workshop, organised by Ana Teles, Project Manager for Portuguese in Hamburg, was a success: all students reported that they enjoyed meeting the scientists and learned new things. Also, they all agreed that speaking more than one language is important for them. Some recognized that some of the words were difficult, but they mostly had fun during the workshop.

This is confirmed by the teacher, Fátima Silva, who told us that “the students were a bit insecure before the workshop, by fear of not speaking the language fluently, but afterwards they said that the activity was interesting”. The teacher also reported having enjoyed the workshop and being interested in promoting this activity among her other students and also other colleagues.

Joana Moscoso, Native’s Director, adds that “it was a difficult decision but one that had to be made. Having an online model means, in the short term, that we can reach students and scientists during the pandemic. In the mid to long-term, it means that students outside big urban areas will also be able to benefit from the work we do. I am very proud of this achievement personally and very thankful to all the team members who stepped out of their comfort zone and worked hard to make this happen.””.

This workshop had the support of ASPPA and Instituto Camões.

About Native Scientist: Native Scientist is an award-winning European-wide non-profit organisation that promotes cultural diversity in science, education and society. Native Scientist provides science and language workshops, science communication training, and bespoke projects for various institutions, including schools, universities and embassies. The work developed connects pupils with scientists to foster science and language literacy through role modelling and science and language integrated learning. Founded in 2013, their work reaches over 1,200 pupils a year and they count with a network of over 1,000 international scientists.


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