Monday, September 3, 2012

Dr. Risa L. Reyes, Deputy Director for Research and Extension of NISMED, presented a poster and participated in the Third International La main à la pâte seminar held at the International Centre for Educational Studies (CIEP) in Sèvres, France on 4 to 9 June 2012.

Organized by the Academy of Sciences, Institute of France, and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the seminar was designed to address inquiry based science education (IBSE) issues and come up with strategies for innovation in educational practices and professional development of science teachers.

Dr. Reyes' poster focused on the current curriculum reforms in science education (K to 12) in the country. She highlighted UP NISMED's involvement in the development of the Science Curriculum Framework as well as student and teacher materials (for Grade 7) and the conduct of the National Training of Trainers. The poster was presented jointly with Mr. Joji D. Linaugo of La Consolacion College of Bacolod who attended the National Training and conducted the regional training for Grade 7 science teachers.

The Filipino participants were two of a total of 51 participants from 38 countries whose applications were approved by the organizers. La main à la pâte, which literally means 'hands in the dough,' is a foundation started by three French scientists (one of whom is a Nobel laureate) in 1996 and actively promotes inquiry-based science education.

Who says scientists don't care about science teaching in the
elementary grades and in high school?

Poster presented by Dr. Reyes and Mr. Linaugo
at La main a la pate in Paris, France.
These three do. Georges Charpak (1992 Nobel Prize winner), Yves Quere and Pierre Lena, fellow physicists and members of the French Academy of Sciences noted the school children's lack of interest in science and decided to do something about it. In 1996, they founded La main à la pâte, which means hands-on work in French, a program dedicated towards the renewal of science education in primary schools in France and also in other countries by virtue of the universality of science.

La main à la pâte recommends that teachers implement an inquiry process combining exploration of the world, scientific learning, experimentation, mastery of language and argumentation, so that all children deepen their understanding of the objects and phenomena around them.

From the start, the three founders and the French Academy vowed to emulate the Chicago science education program of Leon Lederman, another physicist and also a Nobel prize winner, after their visit to Chicago in 1995. They hearkened to Lederman's programme of action called Capacity Building, presented to the International Council for Science (ICSU), for scientists to become involved in elementary education, specifically science education. The InterAcademy Panel, consisting of 92 academies world-wideincluding the US National Academy of Sciences headed by its president Bruce Alberts, subsequently selected science education as an "essential issue" for the century during its conference in Tokyo in 2000.

Since then, La main à la pâte has inked cooperation with other countries beginning with China, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil; thereafter, many other countries have joined. It started organizing international seminars in 2010, inviting participants from all over the world and sharing with these participants the philosophy, rationale and methods of inquiry-based science education.

Risa L. Reyes of UP NISMED and Joji Linaugo of La Consolacion College Bacolod were privileged to participate in the 3rd International Seminar of La main à la pâte on 4 to 9 June 2012 held at the Centre International d'Etudes Pedagogiques (CIEP), Sevres, France.