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Findel-CASTME Education Awards for 2018 announced; educators from India, UK and Malta win awards
The Findel-CASTME Education Award for the year 2018 have been bagged Dr Lalit Kishore from India; Kulvinder Kaur Johal from UK and Doris Bingley from Malta.

Dr Kishore's entry "Training Primary Teachers to Become Math Language Literates: Development and Try out of Training Material to Connect Exact Science of Math to Soft Science of Linguistics" sent as a researcher at Disha in Jaipur has been given the prize worth ?300.

Dr Kishore's entry was about an intervention was designed and transacted as training for elementary school teachers when a rapid assessment study revealed their low math language proficiency. The Design & Development (D&D) methodology was used to develop a 10-hour course in the form of math language learning tasks keeping the cognitive skills and feminist pedagogy principles in focus such as word puzzles, pattern poetry and group work.

The intervention was developed and trialled in three phases, viz., pre-active, inter-active and post active phases. The training course material was developed and transacted with teachers with 10-hour training. The teachers reacted favourably on chi-squared test. The comments of the teachers about the math language course and training process were positive. The implication is that the pre-services and in-service teacher training need to provide short term courses on language of mathematics to improve and feminize math instruction.

Kulvinder Kaur Johal, Assistant Head Teacher/ Science Coordinator at Northbury Primary School, Northbury Close, Barking, Essex, England, UK has won the prize worth ?50 for entry "The Invention Convention".  The entry describes an open event for parents and carers with their children with the aim of creating a new invention that would solve a problem in real life. For example, a project was stated as "Problem: Children pick their nose too often. Solution: I would invent chunky bits of plastic to put on my fingertips so they don't fit in my nostrils". In our final round, children and parents had their own stand at school to present and promote their idea to the rest of the community and teaching staff. The two best inventions were awarded after assessment by the teachers.

Doris Bingley of National Council of Women in Malta has been selected for prize for her entry titled "STEM Summer Activities: Science is Fun" with an aim to empower mothers, carers and those who work with young children to value the importance of their role as "first educator".  The entry shows that science is in play and everyday life and encourages girls as well as boys to develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) potential.

 Throughout the summer in 2017 a series of STEM sessions for pre-schoolers and toddlers accompanied by their parents, grandparents and carer were held. In February 2018 a review and feedback activity on the project was undertaken.

Feedback reported, "We talked to some of the parents and grandparents who attended the Summer Activities 2017 with their children and grandchildren. All of the people we interviewed spoke enthusiastically about the STEM activities and requested that the Summer Activities are held again in 2018. The adults said that they enjoyed the quality time with the children and that they enjoyed doing the activities together. One said that she enjoyed "feeling like a child again."  The feedback from the parents and grandparents demonstrates the value of this project. Adults, who did not enjoy science when they were at school, said that the summer sessions changed their attitude to science.

One said, "I now know that everyday things are STEM so now I'll give him more opportunities to discover science at home." One grandparent said that she would be interested to explore science and musical instruments.

We were told that the children are still carrying out practical STEM activities such as those with sticks and beakers. One parent told us, "He still repeats activities." Another said, "He still wants to explore things." We also heard that one child, who "loved" the session on the life cycle of the butterfly, was keen to find out more about local butterflies. The children especially enjoyed the animal-focused activities and also making junk model robots, reported the entrant.

The entry concludes that the parents and grandparents said that it was good that, at each session, they were given the focus of the next session. One mother said that it helped her daughter's confidence and self esteem to be prepared for the next session. We were given a variety of reasons for attending the first session. One reason was "To do something to occupy him in the holidays." Another parent said that she came because her little girl is "very inquisitive." After attending the first session, all the families continued to attend the Summer Activities. The comment, "They loved it. I loved it." illustrates the successful outcome of the project.

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