Gender4STEM Gender aware education and teaching
Action clé :
Action clé 2
Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology | LIST (Luxembourg)
Smart Venice SRL (Italy)
Women In Digital Initiatives Luxembourg Absl | WIDE (Luxembourg)
Stichting VHTO (The Netherlands)
Fundatia Professional (Romania)
“Girls are not talented at science, science is for geeks and thus not for girls…” These are some persistent gender stereotypes in science education. We want to tackle this issue and therefore, we have developed a platform for teachers, to provide them with concrete tools for more gender-fair teaching.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They are key drivers for innovation, but girls are still underrepresented in these disciplines. One of the reasons why STEM disciplines are unappealing to girls might be persistent gender stereotypes. Teachers are not always equipped to manage gender diversity in their classrooms (e.g. little teacher training dealing with these issues, lack of female role models represented in teaching materials).
The Gender4STEM platform is primarily for teachers, but it is also relevant for school psychologists and counsellors, as well as career guidance advisors of Secondary Level Education. They are invited to use the self-assessment tool to find out how gender-fair their teaching practices are and receive personalised recommendations of teaching materials to step up their gender-fair teaching practices. They can also attend the Gender4STEM hands-on blended training to make them aware of their gender-conscious or unconscious biases when teaching. They discover the 100 teaching materials available on the Gender4STEM platform, with which they can experiment in classrooms.
Teachers are then fully equipped to get more girls excited about STEM.
The project used a collaborative approach involving target groups and following 5 non-linear steps of design thinking: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test; resulting in 7 project outputs.
The two first stages aimed at gaining an empathic understanding of the problem (O1 Identifying gender stereotypes and unconscious biases in School Education and O2 Learning contents for a teacher training on gender aware STEM education).
Then the “Ideate” stage allowed to design the solution and lead to the “Prototype” steps (O3 Recommender system, O4 Platform prototype and O5 Training for Teachers).
The “Test” stage has consisted of the pilot sessions in O4 and O5 and resulted in O6 Impact assessment report and recommendations and O7 Co-designed exploitation guidelines
Built on the survey of the common gender stereotypes in STEM education in EU (O1) and the curation and creation of about 100 relevant teaching materials to counteract these stereotypes (O2), the main outputs of the project are the Gender4STEM platform (O4) and the associated hands-on training (O5). They provide teachers with a self-assessment tool, to find out how gender-fair their teaching is and allow them to access personalised recommendations of materials (O3), organised by teaching practice (preparation, teaching, assessment, etc.), language and type of material (toolkit, video, etc.).
Gender4STEM changed teachers’ behaviours and raised their awareness of gender stereotypes in STEM. They see the crucial need to allocate time in order to get more gender competent. They also really appreciated to exchange about the issue and they stayed in touch after the project. The implemented gender-fair teaching project impacted pupils in their capacity to collaborate in mixed groups, their concrete understanding about STEM jobs and careers, their knowledge about women in STEM and their willingness to consider STEM careers. For Gender4STEM experts the project is a relevant base for future initiatives. They will use the outputs in their missions. The project helped partners to develop relationships with many local and EU stakeholders. All partners were able to develop new skills during the project (e.g. collaboration, creativity, developing a scientific approach, developing and contributing to an online learning tool, developing education resources to transfer knowledge and expertise).
Now, Gender4STEM continues in Luxembourg under “Gender4STEM in action”. The project is supported by the National Research Fund to promote science to the public. As part of this project, WIDE (in collaboration with LIST) creates new pilots in Luxembourgish Schools, using the platform and experimenting with gender-fair projects in classrooms, contributing thus to the strengthening of the ‘Gender4STEM ambassadors’ network.
Perspectives to use the Gender4STEM outputs are also in discussion with other EU stakeholders like the “Délégation académique au numérique pour l’éducation – Academie Nancy-Metz”.
Finally, all partners clearly see an opportunity to carry on Gender4Stem training for teachers as trainers.