Since last autumn I participate in the “science goes to school” project, organized by us Ph.D. students of the DIPP graduate school. What we do is we go to local schools and perform simple experiments with the pupils. As the language of science is English we of course teach them in English (a good chance for them to practice), we try to excite them about science and at the same time try to instill tolerance.
Why tolerance? Well it all goes back to a few years ago when Marwa El-Sherbini was murdered (here in Dresden) out of blind racism and ignorance. Some fellow students, which were friends of Marwa’s husband, then decided it was their duty to do something to prevent ignorance causing such tragedies again in the future. They came up with what I think was a brilliant idea: given that we Ph.D. students in the DIPP graduate school are a mixed bunch, with people from many many countries, they thought that if pupils were thought science by foreigners, this would unconsciously also possibly teach them tolerance, in a fun way.
If they will be more tolerant towards foreigners and other cultures thanks to the interaction with us I cannot say. What I can see and transpires from the feedback they give us is that they like performing experiments with us. Lessons are (usually) boring but extracting DNA from bananas… now that’s something!! 😀
This week we visited the science oriented MANÖS school. Furthermore I must say I was really impressed by the amount of knowledge that these teenagers have, along a sound command of spoken English!