EINSTEINPLUS EN FRANÇAIS TAKES TEACHERS BACK TO THEIR ROOTS


French adaptation of intensive summer workshop EinsteinPlus a resounding success at Trois-Rivières, Québec.

Several teachers from Quebec and Alberta went back to being students for a week during the summer for the first French edition of Cercle scientifique EinsteinPlus, held at the Cégep de Trois-Rivières in July.
 
Simon Lévesque and Johanne Thibeault, teachers at the Cégep de Trois-Rivières and coordinators of the summer workshop, said the program’s success was due largely to the support of Perimeter Institute. The Cégep partnered with Perimeter for the project, which also received financial support from the Government of Québec.
 
The team from Québec went to Perimeter Institute three times to experience firsthand the original version of the summer workshop, EinsteinPlus. They drew inspiration from that to create the French adaptation. 
 
Gabrielle Dionne, Dominique Lajoie, Maryse Lajoie, and Olivier Mathieu, from Séminaire Saint-Joseph in Trois-Rivières, were the workshop facilitators. As is the case with the English workshop, renowned conference speakers were invited to engage with the participants, and participants were able to try out classroom-ready activities.
 
The workshop’s success is also the result of the participants’ warm camaraderie, the local team’s availability, and the quality of the sightseeing outings. The participants left feeling moved to have lived such an intense week of learning, discovery, and exchanges between peers.
 
During a wrap-up activity, several high-school science teachers remarked on the relevance of their participation in the summer workshop.
 
Jolyane Damphousse, a teacher from Trois-Rivières, particularly appreciated the hands-on classroom activities. “The virtual- and augmented-reality activities enabled me to learn more about a topic that has long interested me. They met a real need for me,” she said. “The mentoring circles were most interesting and relevant. We could really discuss our in-class practices, which was very helpful for all of us.”
 
Montréal teacher Roxanne Lemay appreciated the student-focussed approach of the workshop. “We can connect somewhat with super-complex subject matter, but the summer workshop has shown us that it’s possible to make it accessible, and I found that very inspiring all week long,” she said.
 
According to Thibeault, the pedagogical reflections that the participants shared during the two mentoring circles led by the MIROIR team at Cégep de Trois-Rivières enabled them to reconsider all the scientific content in terms of putting it to work for their students’ learning. (This component is the subject of academic research directed by Professor Marc Boutet at Université de Sherbrooke.)
 
For Lévesque, the most important aspect was to enable the teachers to meet, get to know each other, share an incredible experience together, and forge new ties. If the participants can go home with ideas for their classrooms and if they can more easily introduce complex topics to their students, our goal has been reached.
 
The team in Québec is already planning the 2019 edition of the Cercle scientifique EinsteinPlus summer workshop. Keep an eye on the French EinsteinPlus Summer Workshop site (in French) for future developments.
 
- Submitted by Simon Lèvesque

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“The summer workshop has shown us that it’s possible to make it accessible.”

- Roxanne Lemay, Cercle scientifique EinsteinPlus participant