Primary education: ‘Talent Viewer’

VHTO and Amsterdam based Science Centre NEMO have developed and implemented a primary school (grade 5 & 6, 9-12 years) project (Talent Viewer, ‘Talentenkijker’ in Dutch) since 2011. During a series of lessons, both boys and girls explore their talents, meet STEM professionals, and discover what talents are needed for a variety of jobs in STEM. The pupils are also given a practical assignment. Over the past two years, more than 3500 classes in elementary school participated.

Talent Viewer aims to:

  1. provide pupils, teachers, and parents with a broader and more comprehensive picture of professions in the STEM domain (e.g., with assignments that encourage studying STEM-professions and a guest lecture by a female STEM professional);
  2. encourage pupils to develop their individual skills rather than those that fit gender stereotypes and create awareness on this matter among parents and teachers;
  3. make pupils, parents, and teachers aware of their (gender) stereotypes about STEM-studies and professions;
  4. offer STEM role models. Parents and teachers are actively involved in Talent Viewer.

The first evaluations of Talent Viewer show enhanced gender awareness in teachers, as well as enhanced and more up-to-date knowledge about STEM education and STEM professions among children, teachers and parents. Furthermore Talent Viewer serves as an eye-opener for both pupils and teachers, demonstrating that STEM professionals can be female as well. Fewer pupils consider STEM as ‘something for boys’ after participating in Talent Viewer.

VHTO and NEMO also developed a gender awareness training for teachers in primary education. The training focusses on gender awareness in general, with respect to developing STEM-skills, interaction with pupils, etcetera. The training is designed for school teams. The training and the project can be purchased separately. Besides Talent Viewer, girls in the age 10-14 can visit STEM companies and businesses by participating in the annual Girlsday. They can also participate in Code Events that VHTO organises especially for girls.