Pulling It All Together:
Synergy of Teachers, Museum Educators in Preparing Youth in Action
The core value of science centers is to provide informal education for the public. By emphasizing our feature and advantage (being a trusted partner of Ministry of Education), we have developed and planned an initiative based on a well-featured education resources and events. We established effective interaction mechanism with formal education organizations (MOE) and engage teachers to be part of our annual program for enhancing the learning and innovation capabilities of the public, specifically youth, and making more contributions to society. The youth in action or affectionately called Science Action Team are providing an enriching experience and opportunities and consequently become more competent and excited in STEM. They in turn become our ambassadors and also our increasing pool of support team in many programs to come. Working on a long term project during the school holidays can be a daunting task – or an exciting opportunity. This program will feature case study of a successful combo of a science centre annual activity and provide useful take home ideas.
Science centers and museums foster positive adolescent development. Museums can provide structured activities, tutoring, and a safe haven for youth after classes let out in the afternoon during the school-year. This paper offers practical ways & case studies of how to engage students during their school break and fill up the time involved in formal training in science communication and eventually become ambassadors to engage the public in the science center. Apart from intensive workshops, training and practical work, we also engage in the social media and it’s tools. Thus, we continue to have conversations in the online space; thinking and discussing about science even though they are not present in the centre. Concurrently we also have teachers participating in our professional development program during the time. Both complement each other; the students gain teachers advice and wealth of experience while, the teachers have access to the group of students as a platform to review suitability of their developed activities and as a mean to observe classroom behavior. The teachers from formal education system, our staff from informal education system and the youth as our subject / agent all benefit from this synergistic relationship.
In 2010, we based the programme on the “Science and Technology of the Gas Industry” to commemorate the World Gas Conference, Kuala Lumpur in 2012. The programme will also be part of the WGC TaskForce2, to nurture the youth and promote career development.
The Science Action Team initiative was influenced by research from the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, which concluded that every teen needs opportunities to:
- increase her or his sense of self-worth
- learn to respect people and things
- learn and perfect new skills
- stay focused on and motivated by her or his goals
- force a connection to a community or group
- build an identity based on his or her beliefs and experiences
- form positive relationships with adults who can serve as mentors and role models
- learn responsibility to self and community
- acquire autonomy and accountability in decision-making
Based on A Matter of Time: Risk and Opportunity in Nonschool Hours, Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1992.
What Participants get out of SAT Program
Museums and science centers are ideal places for youth programs because they combine three fundamental elements for healthy youth development: varied, substantial intellectual resources; a positive peer environment; and caring adults who can make a difference in young people's lives. Evaluation, staff observation, and site visits to programs supported by the SAT initiative documented benefits to youth from their participation. We found that participants have benefited in terms of :
- added new knowledge
- valued education more highly
- honed their creative problem-solving skills
- become more science literate
Gained social competence:
- enhanced their communication skills
- developed positive peer support groups
- developed leadership skills and the confidence to use them
- become effective museum advocates/ambassadors
- discovered the joy of helping and teaching others
- understood the value of team work
- realized they have a new place to call home
Learned more about the world of work:
- seek out museum staff as mentors
- developed aspirations to achieve their goals
- appreciated their new opportunities to practice and master skills
- received respect and recognition for their accomplishments
- appreciated the high expectations that museum staff have for them
- became more aware of skills they already have and learn new ones
- gained marketable work skills
- felt valued by a larger institution/community
- developed a code of ethics and a sense of responsibility to a larger community
Key Components of Science Action Team
2 weeks throughout School Break
20 students from Schools around Kuala Lumpur; SMK Wangsa Maju, SMK Taman Melati, SMK Seri Bintang Utara, SMK Puteri Jaya and SMK Seri Bintang Selatan.
Science and Technology in the Oil and Gas Industry.
Each group of 4 students per school are reporting to a Teacher Fellow. They also are attached with Museum educators and a learning specialist for daily supervision.
Science Centre / Museum Science Communicators - SAT are trained to be familiarize with the institution's galleries and display areas involving visitors more directly with the exhibits by discussing concepts, answering questions, and providing assistance with the operation of exhibits.
|SAT are trained to interact with the visitors|
Project Demonstrators - SAT are mentored to develop projects and are provided with mobile carts or stations in a specific area of the institution where they give "shows" or lead activities that highlight an exhibit / theme.
|SAT Project : Fermentation of fruits to produce natural gas alternative||SAT produces displays to accompany projects|
Enrichment Classes - focus on examining and discussing a specific theme / topic / issue / scientific concepts. The basics lay foundation for their roles as SAT.
|Class on Chemistry and Physics of Gas Industry|
Communication Skill Building - focuses on a wide range of applications, from one-on-one interactions and oral presentation skills, to written projects and technological interfaces. These skills are cultivated through peer coaching, on-the-job practice, and workshops.
|On-the-job practice - Interacting with visitors especially the young ones.|
Formative Assessment - We engaged a variety of ways of formative assessment in terms of science concepts, science process skills and scientific attitude. The practice helped us to elicit students’ current thinking related to our teaching goals and determining next steps to help SAT to develop their thinking.
|SAT Individual Science Notebook as a form
of formative assessment
|Project evaluation by Teachers and Science center educators|
Informal vs Formal – SAT are mentored through the best of both education world; teachers who are participants from our annual Teachers’ Fellowship Program provided link and necessary advice from the formal education setting. The Science center staff provided guidance from the informal learning perspective.
|Teacher fellows mentoring students||Science center staff mentoring students|
Family Involvement - during Graduation Day, participants plan and implement to showcase their accomplishments for their families and science centre staff, as the last practice before sharing with the public.
|SAT student shares a moment with family members|
Science Ambassadors to School Clubs - SAT extended to Science Clubs where graduates share their projects with school club members. As ambassadors for the science centre, this provide are open-ended and, often, less structured opportunities for other younger teens to engage in hands-on enrichment projects.
Teachers' Fellowship Program - About the Teacher Mentors
Every year during the end of the year school holidays, Petrosains conducts a 3-week Teacher Fellowship Program (TFP). The programme which is held in partnership with the Curriculum Development Division of the Ministry of Education, has been running for 9 years now, and 42 teachers has successfully completed it. With all this experience, Petrosains’ Teacher Professional Development staff have spent hundreds of hours carefully capturing and analyzing an expanding repertoire of thought provoking and practical activities. The TFP also benefit from its alumni, who report back regularly on their post program activities, sharing their experiences.
During our recent SAT program, all 4 teacher fellows undergoing the programme interact with SAT. In addition to these, few more Teacher Fellows from our previous program came to lend a hand.
Out latest addition to our alumni are:
- Puan Mazni Abdul Wahab from SMK Seksyen 10, Kota Damansara.
- Puan Marlina Mat Napes from Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Bandar Tasik Puteri.
- Puan Bibi Iklima Muhd Rashid from SK Jalan 3, Bandar Baru Bangi.
- Puan Norliah Abu Hassan from SK Kuala Selangor.