A behavioural psychologist has encouraged teachers to capitalise on a year of significant scientific progress to help motivate children to change the world.
This comes after new research revealed that 9 in 10 children want to take an active stance in changing the world, but lose hope in their ability to do so as they get older.
The research, commissioned by the British Science Association (BSA), found that 52% of parents with young children starting primary school reported that their child didn’t feel confident they can make a difference in the world. This rises to 63% when it comes to parents of 14-18 year olds.
However, BSA also found that children have been spurred on by major world events such as Covid-19 and the climate crisis, with 1 in 5 children being interested in careers tackling climate change, and 23% wanting to explore careers related to solving medical emergencies and pandemics.
Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “As school closures begin to end and children begin to get a semblance of normality back in their lives, it’s really important we continue to motivate them to pursue their dreams.
“It’s important that both teachers and parents capitalise on new scientific visibility and in some cases their newfound knowledge, by talking to their children about the many ways in which science affects our day to day lives, making it informative, exciting and fun, so that they stay motivated, and encouraging them to start thinking, even at an early stage, what sort of role they could play in this brave new world as they go through their schooling.”
As school closures begin to end and children begin to get a semblance of normality back in their lives, it’s really important we continue to motivate them to pursue their dreams – Jo Hemmings
Hemmings said this year’s British Science Week (5-14 March) comes at a “crucial moment” in the development of the next generation.
This year’s event focuses on showing young people that it is possible for them to act on their desire to change the world. There are free activity packs for teachers, as well as events put on by universities, museums and zoos taking place throughout the week.
Katherine Mathieson, chief executive of the British Science Association, added: “The last few months have seen some incredible developments for the subject, from the Covid-19 vaccine to the landing of Nasa’s Perseverance Rover on Mars. These achievements remind us just what we’re capable of when we work together to make science a priority.”
Main image: Brighton Girls