Computer, educational material, electronics items and a data pack to connect to the internet. With the kits sent to the home of 49 teachers and students from different regions of the country, everything was ready to start the second edition of the week of STEAM & English Immersion, promoted by the Embassy and the US Consulates in Brazil, in partnership with the Laboratory of Integrated Technological Systems (LSI-TEC) and support from the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), to integrate the English language into the areas of STEAM (acronym in English for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
Held from October 5th to 9th by the Zoom platform, the immersion brought together students, aged between 16 and 18, science teachers and English teachers from public schools of education in 12 Brazilian states: Distrito Federal, Tocantins, Rio Grande do Norte , Pernambuco, Piauí, Ceará, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, São Paulo Paraná, Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina. Throughout the week, they had the opportunity to participate in practical activities, plenary sessions and mentoring with specialists from USP to develop their skills in investigative methodology, entrepreneurship and innovation and scientific communication. All of this combined with English language proficiency.
“For those who intend to go deeper in the area of science and technology, currently the most important language is English, both to know what is being produced worldwide, as well as to give visibility to the work that we are developing”, highlighted Roseli de Deus Lopes , professor at Poli and deputy director of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IEA) at USP.
Through this integration, in addition to boosting students’ scientific growth, the immersion experience also helped contextualize language learning. “Sometimes people think that to learn English you need to understand only the grammatical issue. Of course, grammar is an important foundation of any language, but you also need to know how to use it in your daily life in a natural way ”, explained English teacher Jefferson Sobral Mota, who participated in the immersion to accompany a group of young people of ETEC Lauro Gomes, in São Bernardo do Campo (SP).
Selected by the US Embassy during the 18th FEBRACE (Brazilian Science and Engineering Fair), also held virtually, in addition to improving the use of language, during the STEAM & English Immersion, participants had the opportunity to deepen their scientific projects in Portuguese and English, including a detailed review of the research plan, summary, poster and oral presentation of the project.
“I noticed a great maturity in relation to the students’ scientific thinking. They also had a lot of autonomy to meet virtually out of hours, make changes in their work, follow recommendations by experts, question and develop critical thinking ”, commented participant Ana Paula Ruas de Souza, science professor and Jefferson colleague at ETEC Lauro Gomes.
The team accompanied by Ana Paula and Jefferson during STEAM & English developed scientific research on the application of green banana peel polyphenols for the production of dressings against skin infections. “The week was very good for maturing what we can still do with our project. We realized that it can really help people, ”said student Bianca Brilhante Simões, 17. According to her, virtual immersion was also an incentive to continue the project, which was interrupted because of the pandemic. “Our work was at school and failed to finish, but the activities encouraged us to continue.”
As a conclusion of the immersion week, the participating teams were also encouraged to present an action plan to better integrate the areas of science and English in their respective schools and to produce a pitch (quick presentation) in English to communicate their project.
Despite the cold in the belly of giving a presentation in English to all specialists, teachers and participants of the week STEAM & English, student Camila Marques Frade, 18, from CEFET (Federal Center for Technological Education) of Minas Gerais, stressed that immersion it was very important to develop your communication skills. “I am very shy, but I have had many talks that have helped me to improve my presentation. I was able to get an idea of how important English is in science ”, he told young people that he developed an electronic nanny for the hearing impaired, capable of sending an alert to the mother when the child is crying.
The complete list of participants and their projects can be seen on the Febrace website.
From Porvir – By Marina Lopes – 10/13/2020