As may have been mentioned, I’m in Abu Dhabi for a month helping train the hundreds of science communicators who will staff the Science Festival here in November. It’s a huge project run by Edinburgh International Science Festival – exhausting, but tremendously rewarding.
This week, one of the universities with which we worked was a teacher training college. As I found last year, it’s a pleasure to work with tremendously capable Emirati women and introduce them to perhaps a slightly different way of interacting with their audiences. The parallels and differences between science communication and conventional classroom practice are fascinating.
At one point we found ourselves discussing demonstrations, and how they might best be used. “Ask the audience to predict what they think’s going to happen!” cried one happy participant. “Yes!” continued another, “Then observe what actually happens, and ask them to explain why.”
Predict/Observe/Explain, it turns out, is quite the thing at this particular college. Cool.