Science starts at school. VA has investigated both teachers’ and pupils’ attitudes and perceptions regarding science and research in a number of projects.

Youth parliament about science at Thorildsplans gymnasium in Stockholm. Photo: Gustaf Waesterberg

Schools Meet Science

One way to enhance the scientific level of teaching in schools is to collaborate with researchers. In our School Meets Science project, VA worked with the Skåne Research Network to investigate how schools can successfully collaborate with researchers on the school’s own terms. The project consisted of three parts.

The first was a national survey with teachers and school leaders in Sweden, to explore their contacts with researchers and how they access information about research. The results of the survey are presented in the VA report 2013:3 How schools view science – a survey, which includes an English summary. You can also find out more in the press release Lack of time prevents Swedish schools from embracing science.

In the second part, we developed and tested new collaborative models for bringing students, researchers and teachers together (report available in Swedish only).

In the third part, an evaluation of the activities was undertaken.

For more information about the project, please contact Cissi Askwall, Secretary General.

Teachers’ attitudes towards science

Teachers are important role models who can greatly influence attitudes and behaviour of young people. In 2004 we conducted a survey on school teachers’ attitudes towards research, and in 2005 we carried out an in-depth survey on how teachers work to develop creativity and entrepreneurial skills among children. Both surveys were conducted as telephone interviews with teachers, school principals and student teachers. We also produced an overview of previous surveys in this area (VA report 2004:2). The interview survey on science in 2004 is presented in the report: How Teachers View Science, 2004 (in Swedish).

In 2004, VA’s annual conference was focused on the contact between teachers and the research community and on the research community’s opinion on how children are being taught at school. A summary in English is available here: VA Day focuses on learning.

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Collaborations with researchers reap benefits for Swedish schools

Pupils who have a greater understanding of science and the ability to think like a scientist. This is the result when schools themselves get to invite researchers to assist pupils in the classroom, according to a recent evaluation of the Swedish project School Meets Science.

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How Teachers View Science, 2004 – an interview survey

VA Report 2004:4

Teachers are a group that has a major influence on the attitudes and behaviour of children and young people. VA engaged the Swedish company TEMO to carry out a broad survey of teachers’ attitudes towards and perceptions of science and research.

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