AMGEN Foundation provides €2m for science teachers in Europe

18 Sep 2014

The AMGEN Foundation has committed €2m for secondary school science teachers across Europe, including Ireland, to increase students’ scientific literacy and interest in scientific careers.

The foundation has collaborated with European Schoolnet to launch the initiative known as Amgen Teach, which will be a three-year initiative to strengthen the ability of secondary school teachers to use enquiry-based teaching strategies in their classrooms.

It’s the foundation’s philosophy that rather than just presenting facts or encouraging rote memorisation from a book, students should be able to pose questions, as well as debate with peers, form coherent arguments and critique experiments.

So far, 10 countries have signed up to the programme which, aside from Ireland, include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Turkey.

More demanding, but more rewarding

Amgen Teach will be offered in several languages and will support each country’s national curriculum. The programme will also use face-to-face training workshops and distance learning events to provide teachers with the skills and confidence to transform the student experience in learning science.

With training to be offered free of charge, a common evaluation framework will apply and teachers will be encouraged to share best practice through a European online community.

Speaking of the programme, Dublin teacher Kirstie McAdoo said being more engaged with students is immeasurably better than traditional teaching methods.

“There is no doubt that this kind of learning is more challenging,” McAdoo said.

“As a teacher, you have to tailor the approach, depending on the skill set and comfort level of each class. However, while this approach demands more energy and effort, it is infinitely more rewarding.”

Science students image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic