Archive of European Projects

Convenience food and health implications - a peer tutoring approach involving action-orientated work in the lab
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In both countries there is the need for more people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the workplace in order to maintain economic growth and momentum in innovative industries. Currently, the demand for specialists in this field is clearly outweighing the numbers of qualified applicants. UK government findings highlight a shortage of 400, 000 STEM professionals (March 2014). In Germany, the current shortage of workers with STEM skills is estimated at 121,000 – despite an increase of workers employed in STEM jobs by almost 291,000 since 2011. According to the Confederation of German Industry (BDI) and the Confederation of German Employers (BDA) this skills gap is expected to widen significantly in the coming years. Encouraging young people to consider a career in STEM related occupations, pursuing higher levels of study and acquiring technical skills through effective teaching and learning are important elements of any strategy aimed at addressing skills needs. The strategic partnership between Salford City College (SCC) and Johanna-Wittum School (JWS) aims to exchange good practices in the field of science education for students at secondary and upper-secondary level. The partnership will work together to produce innovative learning materials for practical experiments and a peer learning method to be disseminated to stakeholders. The resources will foster the provision and the assessment of key-competences, including basic skills and transversal skills, particularly project management skills, languages, digital skills and intercultural competence. The learning outcomes will support the transition from study into employment by giving students essential technical and professional skills required to enter the STEM labour market. Objectives: • Create high quality learning activities to develop students’ research and practical skills, alongside skills such as problem solving, team work, effective communication and professionalism. • Produce specialist teaching resources for science teachers who work within primary and secondary schools to raise student attainment and increase interest in STEM subjects. • Produce and evaluate a peer tutoring model as an effective learning method. Make resources available to guide other institutions on how to introduce and implement the concept. • Strengthen the schools’ professional profiles and links with industry. Enlist support from new and existing employer contacts to share expertise, offer specialist experiences, group exercises and access to commercial facilities. • Organise a student mobility exchange focusing on nutritional science as a learning activity to trial, observe and evaluate jointly developed learning resources and methods. • Educate students on the varied STEM careers and progression routes available, as well as skills and qualification entry requirements for specific careers. • Promote healthy lifestyles to the schools' students and wider audience through dissemination activities of the nutritional science project. The laboratory workshops are central to the project and will be where the jointly created resources are tested through the practical experiments and during the learning activity with peer tutoring including analysis and evaluation of results. The methodology will be both qualitative and quantitative to assess the activities and overall project success. Both schools will use data collected from their student enrollments, retention and achievement figures as well as destination data. In addition observations, feedback and unstructured interviews will be carried out. Interviews will be conducted with staff and students with a general theme to allow the conversation to develop organically in an informal way to gain as much information as possible. The partnership expects the impact at participant level will be increased skills relevant in the scientific field for both participating staff and students. The expected impact for the schools involved is to share ideas and good practice. The project results will be in the form of a documentation/teaching unit and will be made available on the EST server and e-Twinning website. Additionally, there will be a range of measures to inform about the project and maintain its long term impact via social media, websites, press releases and workshops. Over the longer term the project results will be expected improvement in student results, increased retention and more science related higher education and employment destinations. The short term benefits of the project will allow students involved in the learning activity (some from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds) to gain experience abroad in an academic context, enhance their language, practical and transversal skills to improve their further study and employment prospects. Language skills will be particularly beneficial to the German students as English is the international language of science.
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