The ASTEP Charter

Introduction

Science and technology support is designed to provide Teacher Support in the organisation and implementation of a scientific approach in compliance with primary school curricula. The goals of science and technology support are the following:

  • to create links between the school and the scientific world through exchanges of scientific knowledge and experimental practices;
  • to contribute to making science and technology accessible for all;
  • to highlight scientific and technological careers, stimulate curiosity, arouse interest, create vocations at an early age;
  • to facilitate the connection of science with everyday life, solicit questions, encourage argumentation and experimentation so that students can acquire new knowledge while consolidating skills in oral and written expression.

Types of support

The different types of science and technology support target the conception and direct application of projects initiated by the teacher: modules, sequences, sessions… They represent a cooperation, over a certain length of time, between “scientists and teachers” and can take on the following, non-exclusive, forms:

  • taking part in classroom teaching of science and technology during one or more sessions;
  • sponsoring teachers;
  • using IT tools and communication via Internet, consulting specialised websites, collaborative projects…)
  • design and implementation of cooperative projects;
  • providing resources;
  • creating materials and publishing documents;
  • taking part in cultural events and pedagogical encounters with teachers;
  • taking part, at the request of trainers, in initial and continuous teacher training;
  • contacting players in civil society to set up exchanges.

Profile of the science and technology scientific tutor

The scientific tutor is an adult volunteer who, in his field, has achieved a level of competence and knowledge in science and/or technology that is at least the equivalent of a 2-year university degree. The scientific tutor takes part in the project in person or in a partnership with a recognised organisation: large organisations, institutions, institutions of higher education and research, associations, companies. The scientific tutor has at least a basic understanding of the educational system. Teacher Support is a volunteer activity.

General rules for science and technology support

The support provided contributes to the teaching of science and technology which remains at all moments in the class under the sole responsibility of the teacher.

About content: the content shall always be adapted to the cognitive abilities of the pupils. It will comply with the topics defi ned in the curricula. Support can lead to certain aspects being studied over a longer period of time or in more depth.

Concerning the production of resources: a partnership between national education and organisations or individuals can be set up in order to produce scientific and technological resources for classroom use (documents of all kinds, written or audiovisual, equipment). A group of partners who wishes to join the charter to create resources must accept and make sure that its production complies with the following principles:

  • the resources offered are designed to enable the implementation of the inquiry-based approach prescribed in primary school curricula;
  • any mention of the partner organisation or its sector must not go beyond a discrete form of recognition which should in no way be construed as advertising or propaganda;
  • the level of the pupils is clearly specified and the contents are adapted to their cognitive abilities;
  • equipment is designed in compliance with safety standards in force in primary schools.

Concerning intellectual property rights: if the publication of these resources entails the payment of royalties, these should be distributed among the partners in compliance with the laws in effect at the time of the publication agreement. The position of each party must be clearly defined in a signed document dealing with this issue.

Special rules concerning support in schools

Concerning the issue of presence in the classroom: the teacher who is effectively and permanently present cannot hand his class over to the scientific tutor. No substitution of roles is allowed.

Concerning durations: the durationof any support project: all support activities in schools must comply with the class timetable.

Concerning the way the support project is carried out:

  1. In the preparation phase: outside school hours, the scientifi c tutor helps the teacher prepare and organise the project. Together they agree on the activities that the pupils will carry out, the notions, approaches and knowledge involved, as well as the level of formulation. They use, together, the different facets of the subject while complying with the current school curricula. They prepare, together, and for each session, an appropriate timetable with respect to the progress aimed at and which will be adapted to the pedagogical and scientific aspects involved.
  2. In the classroom: the teacher defines the pace of the session and the pedagogy. He maintains authority over the class for which he is responsible.

Conclusion

This charter was written in order to provide potential partners with greater knowledge concerning the framework and orientation of support in science and technology. It presents the goals, identifi es the forms of support, defines the profile of the scientific tutor and specifies a set of general rules.

Project partners

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