For many teachers, really capitalising on the wonder and excitement of space can be a challenge. Because, while all teachers want to foster their pupils curiosity and use it explore concepts in science, math and technology, most don’t have any background in astronomy. So, what can they do when they’re faced with some of profound questions raised by these topics? Or to combat the common misconceptions?
Enter the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP), a program born during the International Year of Astronomy, 2009. According to their website, the GTTP goal is “to create a worldwide network of Galileo Ambassadors and Galileo Teachers. These Ambassadors train Teachers in the effective use and transfer of astronomy education tools and resources into classroom science curricula.”
In practice, this is an amalgam of resources, a system of teacher workshops to develop their classroom teaching, and a network of support and inspiration from around the globe.
“In astronomy, there are misconceptions and tricks that pop up time and time again. So in a workshop setting, you can come up with teaching strategies to address these,” says Rob Hollow, a CSIRO Education Officer, the first ambassador for the program in Australia and the Australian national coordinator.
Rob has been running a three-day astronomy workshop, Astronomy From The Ground Up!, at the Parkes Observatory every May for about 10 years. Since 2009, attendees have been certified as Galileo Teachers, as part of the international scheme.
For International Coordinator, Rosa Duran, from Nuclio in Portugal, the best part of GTTP is “the 24-hour support. There is always someone available to help, to build the necessary bridges. We are trying to ensure that any teacher, anywhere in the world can be touched by our network with the same benefits and possibilities.”
Find more about the Galileo Teacher Training Program and the resources they have available at their website, or through their Facebook page.