The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository
Warning ePrints Soton is experiencing an issue with some file downloads not being available. We are working hard to fix this. Please bear with us.

Meet the scientist: the value of short interactions between scientists and students

Meet the scientist: the value of short interactions between scientists and students
Meet the scientist: the value of short interactions between scientists and students
Students have been reported to have stereotypical views of scientists as middle-aged white men in lab coats. We argue that a way to provide students with a more realistic view of scientists and their work is to provide them with the opportunity to interact with scientists during short, discussion-based sessions. For that reason, 20 scientists from 8 professional areas were asked to share their experiences of becoming and being a scientist, in short sessions with groups of 7–8 students. The student sample consisted of 223 students between 13 and 15 years. Student and scientist questionnaires were used before and after the sessions to assess students’ views of scientists and their work, and scientists’ experiences of interacting with students. The pre-session questionnaires revealed that students considered scientists as ‘boring’ and ‘nerdy’ whereas after the sessions students focused extensively on how ‘normal’ the scientists appeared to be. The face-to-face interactions with scientists allowed students to view scientists as approachable and normal people, and to begin to understand the range of scientific areas and careers that exist. Scientists viewed the scientist–student interactions as a vehicle for science communication. Implications discussed include the need for future training courses to focus on developing science communicators’ questioning and interaction skills for effective interactions with students.
scientist-student interactions, secondary education, LifeLab, scientists' views of public engagement
2154-8455
89-113
Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
af927fa3-30b6-47d9-8b4d-4d254b3a7aab
Christodoulou, Andri
0a97820c-7e87-45d6-827a-d72fa1734d0a
Rietdijk, Willeke
0edd8cf8-a325-43d0-9b08-2268c9e7b7f4
Byrne, Jenny
135bc0f8-7c8a-42d9-bdae-5934b832c4bf
Griffiths, Janice
7484deee-7fe2-4c3b-8a86-d5c0956eba38
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97
Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
af927fa3-30b6-47d9-8b4d-4d254b3a7aab
Christodoulou, Andri
0a97820c-7e87-45d6-827a-d72fa1734d0a
Rietdijk, Willeke
0edd8cf8-a325-43d0-9b08-2268c9e7b7f4
Byrne, Jenny
135bc0f8-7c8a-42d9-bdae-5934b832c4bf
Griffiths, Janice
7484deee-7fe2-4c3b-8a86-d5c0956eba38
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97

Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Christodoulou, Andri, Rietdijk, Willeke, Byrne, Jenny, Griffiths, Janice and Grace, Marcus (2016) Meet the scientist: the value of short interactions between scientists and students. International Journal of Science Education Part B, 6 (1), 89-113. (doi:10.1080/21548455.2015.1016134).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Students have been reported to have stereotypical views of scientists as middle-aged white men in lab coats. We argue that a way to provide students with a more realistic view of scientists and their work is to provide them with the opportunity to interact with scientists during short, discussion-based sessions. For that reason, 20 scientists from 8 professional areas were asked to share their experiences of becoming and being a scientist, in short sessions with groups of 7–8 students. The student sample consisted of 223 students between 13 and 15 years. Student and scientist questionnaires were used before and after the sessions to assess students’ views of scientists and their work, and scientists’ experiences of interacting with students. The pre-session questionnaires revealed that students considered scientists as ‘boring’ and ‘nerdy’ whereas after the sessions students focused extensively on how ‘normal’ the scientists appeared to be. The face-to-face interactions with scientists allowed students to view scientists as approachable and normal people, and to begin to understand the range of scientific areas and careers that exist. Scientists viewed the scientist–student interactions as a vehicle for science communication. Implications discussed include the need for future training courses to focus on developing science communicators’ questioning and interaction skills for effective interactions with students.

Text
Woods-Townsend et al 2015.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (269kB)

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 9 March 2015
Published date: 2 January 2016
Keywords: scientist-student interactions, secondary education, LifeLab, scientists' views of public engagement
Organisations: Mathematics, Science & Health Education

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367855
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367855
ISSN: 2154-8455
PURE UUID: befc1a7e-e8e7-4ce7-8f75-9d5ef37091a7
ORCID for Kathryn Woods-Townsend: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3376-6988
ORCID for Andri Christodoulou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7021-4210
ORCID for Jenny Byrne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6969-5539
ORCID for Marcus Grace: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1949-1765

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Sep 2014 10:50
Last modified: 13 Nov 2021 02:49

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Willeke Rietdijk
Author: Jenny Byrne ORCID iD
Author: Janice Griffiths
Author: Marcus Grace ORCID iD

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×