St Andrews students help school pupils reach for the stars

Monday 20 February 2012

Students at the University of St Andrews have been helping teach school pupils as part of their degrees. And they are to talk about their experiences at an event to be held in the University tomorrow. (Tuesday 21 February)

59 undergraduates have already taken part in the scheme, this academic year, which helps to engage and inspire school pupils at both primary and secondary school level across Fife, Angus, Tayside and in Dundee. This also gives students valuable experience of teaching to help them in their future careers. The modules, which give successful participants credits towards their degree, help ensure students can communicate their subject well.

The Communication and Teaching in Science module has been running for a number of years and the Communication and Teaching in Arts and Humanities is in its second year. Dr Eric Stoddart, Lecturer in Practical Theology and Distance Learning Officer, co-ordinated the Arts and Humanities part of the programme.He said: “Meeting our students, face-to-face in the classroom, is such an important element for young people who might not otherwise consider that a university education is a next step for them. It’s one way in which we can help widen participation in the sector as a whole.”

Robin Waterston, St Andrews councillor and Vice-Chair of the Education and Children’s Services Committee at Fife Council backed the project. He said: “This programme is an excellent example of the benefits of links between university students and our high school pupils. “The opportunity for pupils to engage directly with students working on exciting and innovative science projects or on creative activities in other fields can add an extra dimension to the teaching of a curriculum. “I am delighted that the University is supporting this programme so positively.”

Case study

Astrophysics fourth year student Jamie Jones took along the University’s mobile observatory to explain the night sky to a fourth year Standard Grade physics class at Madras College in St Andrews last semester. He said: “I have always enjoyed sharing physics – it’s a genuinely interesting subject. If I can play my part in making this kind of information enjoyable to others it gives me satisfaction.” The 22-year-old from County Durham is considering teaching as one of his potential career options and the scheme has given him good experience, as well as a credit towards his degree.

Madras pupil Ethan Dickson, 15, said: “I think it is really good. It shows you what it might be like at university. I’m not sure what I want to do but I might study physics so this is very useful.”

Note to editors

Celebrating Achievement will be held in Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews at 4-5.30pm on Tuesday 21 February.

Please contact the press office if you wish to attend.

Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108/ 0771 414 0559.

Ref: (schools 20/02/12)

Category Student experience

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