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Native Scientists continues to contribute to the science education field with another peer-reviewed article

The latest peer-reviewed article authored by the Native Scientists team in collaboration with researchers from University of Tübingen, Ludwigsburg University, Lancaster University, Institute for Educational Analysis Baden-Württemberg, Flanders Marine Institute, and Erasmus University Rotterdam  was published in the Science Education journal this week. The article presents the results of a randomised controlled trial conducted within the educational programme connecting children and scientists of the Same Migrant Community. Pupils and scientists who participate in Germany and the United Kingdom responded to specifically designed surveys with adapted scales and open-ended questions to investigate its effectiveness in relation to motivation for science and heritage language. The article concludes that the approach used is a new pedagogical method, that students who participated in the programme show an increased sense of science being “important for me”, and that the students’ perception of ability for the heritage language is improved. 

The number of migrant students welcomed in schools across Europe has steadily increased in the last decades, bringing new challenges for both the students and the schools. Reports show that migrant students tend to underperform in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and are less likely to pursue higher education in STEM when compared with their non-migrant peers. Therefore, initiatives like the ones proposed by Native Scientists can help lower the gap between the migrant and non-migrant pupils as well as contribute positively to the migrant pupils' sense of belonging and to the development of multilingualism. In the article, researchers named and evaluated the new Science and Heritage Language Integrated Learning (SHLIL) approach used by Native Scientists programme and rooted in concepts of CLIL (content and language integrated learning) and SCTA (Science Capital Teaching Approach) pedagogies. Differently from classical learning approaches, where students learn new content through a foreign language, here students learn specifically about STEM subjects through their heritage language, fostering migrant students' interest and motivation to study science subjects and supporting their heritage language development. "We found that by using the heritage language, migrant students give a positive value to the science learning, even 4 weeks after the brief outreach intervention," says Dr Julia Schiefer, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology in Ludwigsburg University and first author of the paper. 

This paper follows our previous publication describing how science education programmes can be built upon Equity, Diversity and Inclusion values and showing how Native’s educational programmes can tackle inequities through non-formal science education. It is also a further demonstration of the effectiveness of the Native Scientists learning model.


Julia Schiefer, Jana Caspari, Joana A. Moscoso, Ana I. Catarino, Pedro Miranda Afonso, Jessika Golle, Patrick Rebuschat. Science and Heritage Language Integrated Learning (SHLIL): Evidence of the effectiveness of an innovative science outreach program for migrant students. Science Education, March 2024

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About Native Scientists

Founded in 2013, Native Scientists is a pan-European non-profit organisation connecting underserved children and scientists. It exists to broaden children's horizons, promoting scientific literacy and reducing inequalities through science outreach educational programmes.

About The Science Education Journal

Science Education publishes original articles on the latest issues and trends occurring internationally in science curriculum, instruction, learning, policy and preparation of science teachers with the aim to advance our knowledge of science education theory and practice. Their readers are science educators, researchers in science education, state departments of education, supervisors of science education programs, and chairpersons of high school science departments.


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