Using Clinical Trials As A Teaching Tool In Primary Schools
A unique teaching tool that allows children to collaborate and to enjoy a structured problem solving and investigative approach
The ‘Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START)’ programme has been recognised by primary school teachers as a “unique teaching tool”. Unlike other teaching tools in general science, START focuses primarily on humans, their actions and/or the effect of an intervention on them. It makes a teaching resource out of the people in your school community. It's science, and it may be one of the most insightful and fun projects you will engage in within the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important reliable evidence is in supporting people to make decisions about their health. This evidence includes the results of clinical (also known as randomised) trials, where people take part in an experiment designed to find out if an intervention—perhaps a drug, a lifestyle change or a new approach to treatment works.
Clinical trials are now a part of the public consciousness and conversation. Mainstream media (such as newspapers and TV programmes) and social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) often have reports and discussions about clinical trials for treatments and vaccinations.
We have worked with teachers to design the START programme. START is an outreach initiative that incorporates a competition for primary schools and a science orientated awards day to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. It was launched in 2016, and the competition invites young children (8-12 years old) (and their teachers) to design, conduct, analyse and report their ‘very own randomised trial’.
START helps teachers and Schools meet key aspects of the primary school curriculum, including maths, science, SPHE, English/Irish, visual arts and ICT.
This webinar will provide teachers with an introduction to clinical trials and why they are important, explain the START initiative, including how teachers can get involved and give examples of how START can be used as a teaching tool to develop children’s critical thinking.
Mr. Ray McInerney, Director Clare Education Centre
Mr. Dara Glynn, Principal, CBS, Ennis
Ms. Aisling Murray, St Joseph’s National School, Kinvara, Co. Galway
Dr. Tom Conway, National University of Ireland Galway
Prof. Declan Devane, National University of Ireland Galway