Teacher and Student Forum - Eighth Meeting

Sascha Schmeling (CERN)
Videoconference Rooms
First Meeting of the Teacher and Student Forum
Sascha Schmeling
Room PIN
Auto-join URL
Useful links
Phone numbers

Teacher and Student Forum

8th Meeting – June 16th, 2020, 14:00, Vidyo meeting


Pedro Abreu, Ian Bearden, Jiří Dolejši, Stavroula Kotsi, Kati Lassila-Perini, Predrag Milenovic, Andreas Müller, Sascha Schmeling, Marcel Vlastuin, Gerfried Wiener, Julia Woithe, Zornitsa Zaharieva, Tetiana Hryn’Ova, Pierluigi Paolucci, Urszula Rybałtowska, Zuzana Ješková, Dezső Horváth, Rebecca Parker, Arnulf Quadt, Aleš Mohorič, Martin Hopf, Barbro Åsman, Evangelos Gazis, Roxana Zus, Elisabeth Cunningham, Rebecca Parker, Nicolas Arnaud, Monica Dobre, Nils Hoimyr, Saulius Mickevičius, Ana Godinho, Antonio Arcidiacono, Sebastien Noir, Benjamin Poor, Gyongyi Horvath, Jakub Moscicki 

Minutes: Stavroula Kotsi

Meeting started: 14.13


Welcome and Introduction

Sascha Schmeling (SMS) welcomed the TSF participants and presented the agenda.


Minutes and matters arising

No comments or remarks received.


Updates from CERN

Gerfried Wiener (GW) presented the updates for the Teacher Programmes:

Pedro Abreu (PA) asked whether it would be possible to run an extra International Teacher Programme to compensate for the cancelation of 2020. Gerfried Wiener answered that there are many aspects that could be against that, first being the money but also the time limitation. Since a lot of national programmes were cancelled for 2020 and will be postponed for 2021, there are not any slots available for additional programmes. The decisions concerning the International Programmes were made also based on the decisions that were made for other similar programmes.

PA expressed his interest on the MOOC and asked if there is a scientific community behind it. GW answered that himself and Julia Woithe (JW) are developing the first concept in order to see what actually works however, they expect to get expertise from outside on a later stage as at this point is important to establish what works. In the long term this is definitely a collaborative effort.

Evangelos Gazis (EG) commented that even though the Greek teachers are disappointed for not being able to visit CERN in 2020, the selection has already been updated in order for them to come next year. EG expressed his interest on the MOOC and he offered his support and input based on similar platforms he is familiar with (like Hypatia). SMS commented that as the MOOC attracts quite some interest, it will be discussed again in the next TSF, when the planning on how to continue is also further.


Julia Woithe (JW) presented the latest news and updates for the S’Cool LAB

No questions or comments received.


Stavie Kotsi (SK) presented the updates for the High-School Students Internship Programme (HSSIP)

Tetiana Hryn'Ova (TH) asked whether it is planned for the programme to be expanded to not only Member States, but also Associate Member States. SK answered that is a point that will be included to the upcoming proposal for the continuation of the programme after 2021. SMS commented that there are also new Member States that are not on list because the participation list had to be frozen when the programme started. The new Member States will also be included in the proposal as well as the Associate Member States.

Pedro Abreu (PA) asked if the students for the postponed programmes have already been selected and if some of them will already be at university by the time of the programme. SK answered that this is an issue only for the Swiss and the Italian programmes, as there was no application procedure for the other programmes yet, and for those the existing pool of applicants will be used for the selection.

PA asked for the reason why the UK has not participated in the programme. Elisabeth Cunningham (EC) answered that the UK recognises that this a great programme and a great opportunity for the students, however, due to the huge amount of resources needed for the coordination of similar internships in their laboratories there is hesitation for the HSSIP. Therefore, they would be interested in getting more information on how other countries coordinated the recruitment of the programmes. SMS commented that this is another point to be addressed in the upcoming proposal, to have a clearer proposal on how to select the students, based on the experience we gained during the pilot.

Evangelos Gazis (EG) commented that for Greek students there is the issue that on the final year of high school they need to pass some very hard state exams to be submitted for the university, which means that for the final two years of high school are very busy with the preparation for that therefore that creates issues for Greece to select the best possible sample for the programme. However, many students compromise and are willing to apply anyways and are looking forward to having the programme in 2021.

Dezso Horvath (DH) commented concerning the fact that Hungary was the first country to participate in the programme replacing the UK, that even though everything was organised in a hurry and it wasn’t possible to include students from the final year due to the exam period, […] the students had a very good time. SMS commented that the planning will start earlier in order to use also the first half of the year for programmes. At the moment there is a blockage at the end of the year as many countries ask for these slots, however after the programme there is always the feedback that it would have been better to take a slot at the beginning of the year. Hopefully, this will level out with the end of the pilot and the beginning of a continuation.

Zornitsa Zaharieva (ZZ) commented that HSSIP is a wonderful programme and Bulgaria has been supporting it from the beginning and was very happy to participate in it. ZH asked about the questionnaire that was sent to the students if it would be possible to be shared with the coordinators of the programme. SK answered positively on that. ZH offered to contact the remaining students that didn’t reply to survey, as there is still contact with them. SK answered that this would be great help.

ZZ asked what the purpose of the proposal is and who is it going to be directed to. SMS answered that the purpose of  the proposal is to get the CERN management to agree on the continuation of the programme and also to get as least some funding for it as this programme was fully funded by CERN, included the personnel that is coordinating the programme, however this only concerns the pilot. The continuation of the programmes touches the way it should be run but also how it will be financed and as it is not very probable to have a fully financed programme again, other ways of financing must be found and the team is already looking into this. In 2019, there was a second German programme, which was funded due to the high amount applications compared to the low number of participants. ZH asked whether it would be possible to share this proposal with the representatives of each country since it contains information on the selection of the participants. SMS answered that the selection will remain a proposal for the member states and there will be no more information there than the selection should be a fair and transparent procedure. The team will however suggest best practices since this is what has been asked by many countries.


Sascha Markus Schmeling (SMS) presented the updates for the Beamline for Schools (BL4S) competition

No questions or comments received


Updates from Members - Roundtable

Evangelos Gazis (EG) commented that as in most European Countries, all the public and private schools and universities in Greece had continued the courses via Internet in both synchronised and unsynchronised way, meaning both online video classes and links with exercises that the teachers could send to the students. This was not a familiar procedure to the Greek students, however, in one week most of the students were responding to the courses. For his university there two types of exams, either remotely or with physical presence, keeping the social distances and all the health measures and it has been found that this is a good alternative in case the professor cannot be physically present.

Dezso Horvath (DH) commented that in Hungary the students are very enthusiastic of CERN in general and, even though there is always positive feedback, there is the problem that most of the students are not staying in Hungary for studies.

Jiri Dolejsi (JD) had two remarks for Czech Republic, one for the International Conference of Physics which should have been in Prague, but due to COVID-19 the conference will take place online. For those interested they can visit ichep2020.org and there will also be some outreach programme for those interested in teachers. The second remark, which was also about the pandemic, concerned a positive experience with teachers who lost their fear of internet as well as video meetings and presentations, which can be very useful in the future.

Pedro Abreu (PA) commented that in Portugal there was also a lockdown and one of the greatest impacts was the cancelation of all teacher programmes and masterclasses, for which there was a large number of participants. It was possible to run the masterclasses, just before the confinement, in the north part of Portugal, but with only 200 participants, a much smaller number compare to the other years. However, the IPOG masterclass team managed to run some compensation masterclasses analysis, which engaged some participants. The online activities provided by CERN were also very useful for the Portuguese teachers.

SMS commented that there were also many activities in many countries where they virtualised the classes and there is even a concept on how to make them be online.

SMS transferred a message for Predrag Milenovic, that in Serbia the university masterclasses were also cancelled, however remote masterclasses sessions were organised. Serbia hopes to have a teacher programme and they are very happy to continue to do more in education in the future.

Collaboration Initiatives

Ian Bearden (IB) presented
How can the EPS and other organizations support “non-specialist” teachers in Europe

Pedro Abreau (PA) commented that IPOG and the off assistants are motivated teachers providing resources for other teachers, although their training is not really in the scope of particle physics rather than teaching mechanics, electromagnetism and the basic physics that need to be taught to the students which needs confidence. Therefore, these are training actions that need to be provided by the universities. Due to the fact that in small countries most of the work in the physics society is been done by volunteers, the management of the Portuguese society is trying now to also motivate physicist on a PhD or Post doc level to be involved. PA asked why the numbers of answers coming form teachers is so low. IB answered that one of the reasons talking to the forum is to spread the information and look for more people interested in taking the survey. In this case the easiest way is to contact him directly on his email address. However, despite the low number of answers the country distribution is quite high already. PA commented that in Portugal there is the worry of the points that were raised during this talk but they have not yet reached the political level of asking non-specialist to teach physics, which in his opinion is not the real solution as more trained people should be engaged. IB answered that one of the consequences of not having non- specialist is the risk of not providing the class of physics at all in schools, which happens a lot in Denmark when there is no trained physics teacher.

Rebecca Parker (RP) commented that what according to her experience the best practice locally was to not only get stand on specialists, but also get small communities together and offer after school sessions where teachers gather and learn from each other. That is a module that works locally and on a wider spectrum something like this could be supported by an organised online system. IB commented that this could be something that most of University physics departments could support so that at least there are places that people can come and gather and do physics together.

Elisabeth Cunningham (EC) commented that a lot of comments lead back to one of the first points about how teaching is being perceived in the society and it could be interesting to see how enforced home schooling is going to affect the opinion on teachers. In the UK the government is placing various funding in recruiting more physics teachers so it’s easy for students to become teachers, however most of them do not stay in the profession of teaching due to the perception towards teachers as well as their working conditions. RP agreed with EC’s comment.

Martin Hopf (MH) commented suggested to look on what Germany did for the German Physical Society, as they wrote several expertises on that and developed CPT programmes, all this information is available on their website. IB commented that this is one of the roles of EPS, to be widely available. MH replied that this might not be feasible due to the different conditions of teaching physics all over Europe, and, therefore some of the ideas expressed might not work for all the countries. IB answered that even though some of the ideas and practices only apply to specific countries or states, the real challenge is motivate 16-22 years old people to become physics teachers and the that should not be depended on national borders. It should be possible to identify initiatives that are broadly applicable and try to spread those. MH commented that there is the assumption that the non-specialist teachers want the forum’s help, which is his experience is not the case at least in Austria. IB answered that based on his experience with non-specialist teachers, a reason for that might be the lack of confidence on their knowledge and perhaps it would be useful to try and reach them in a different less intimidating approach. EC commented that in the UK it is hard to reach non specialists, as they are not members of physics societies or something similar, in order to advertise those opportunities. EC agreed with IB, that those opportunities sometimes can be intimidating for the non-specialist and it might make sense to reconsider how they are organised.


Sascha Markus Schmeling (SMS) presented the EBU Collaboration Initiative

Ana Godihno (AG) wanted to clarify whether the target audience for SEE are the teachers and not the students. SMS answered that the target audience can be students, teachers, and the general public.

Antonio Arcidiacono (AA) introduced EBU and thanked for the interest for this collaboration. AA commented that a joined project in which their experience and reach can be put together with CERN’s deep knowledge in physics and CERN’s network, could be very powerful. The next steps would be to work together and prepare a proposal on how create this hub of knowledge where all the content can be contributed and then use the artificial intelligence that EBU is developing in order to reach the general public as well as the community of teachers and expand the scientific culture.


Gyongyi Horvath (GH) presented about OpenUp2U a.f.k.a. EduSWAN

SMS commented that the EduSWAN initiative has been discussed before and the forum is happy that somebody picked it up and came to the same conclusions as the forum did a few years ago. This could also be integrated into SEE but also into the EPS initiative, since there is the common goal of providing quality material among with a safe and usable environment.

Gyongy Horvath commented regarding the previous presentations that they had developed an CPT especially for Up2U project and what was positive in their case was developing a soft version of CPT which was all virtual and helped to reach out to more teachers even before the pandemic. Another important point for the teachers was to provide recognised certification.



 Next meeting: September or postpone to December

SMS asked the participants of the Video conference, if there are any remaining questions or comments.

There were no further questions or comments. 

There are minutes attached to this event. Show them.