2. Frequently Asked Questions
- Who pays the speakers’ travel expenses?
- Speakers are likely be local and their travel
expenses paid by their institution or company. If there are any
difficulties, Cafe Scientifique has some funds available to meet
- If the speaker is a PhD student, won’t their expertise be very
- PhD students vary in age and experience. Some will
be recent graduates, others older but on the whole they will be close in
age and experience to your students. Their particular area of study is
very focussed but the speakers’ training they will have taken encourages
them to set their talk in a wider perspective. For example, a psychology
PhD student who works with animals will be prepared to answer students’
questions on that issue.
- How often should we hold a café?
- We suggest you aim for about six in the school
Will speakers know about the school science curriculum?
- It isn’t essential for them to know what the pupils
are currently being taught, as they are there to talk about their own
work but if you feel it would be useful for them to have information
about the syllabus points related to the chosen topic, the project
organiser can help you pass this on.
- Will the speaker be able to cope with a mixed age group?
- In their training, speakers will be encouraged to use simple,
straightforward language and develop a rich variety of analogies to
illustrate their topic.
What if we only have classrooms available for the cafe?
- Wherever the cafe is held, the emphasis will be on
accessibility and informality. Obviously, some areas, e.g. common rooms,
will meet these criteria more readily but if you only have classrooms
available, the project organiser will help you explore options for
making the café as informal as possible within your constraints.
- What if no one asks any questions?
- The teacher co-ordinator and
student organisers should aim to have a few questions up their sleeves,
should the audience be completely silent. You might also point out any
students you know to be articulate, so the speaker can encourage them to
- What’s the time commitment?
- Cafés will last 40 minutes to
an hour (approx. 10min talk, 30min discussion and debate) and are most
likely to be held at lunchtime or after school. You might want to set
aside some time for attending planning meetings in the early stages – we
suggest the team will need around three meetings per café but these
don’t have to be very long.
- Will the speakers be CRB checked?
- We encourage all our speakers to be CRB checked. If
an individual speaker happens not to be, we will of course let you know.
- What if the speaker doesn’t turn up?
- Occasionally, for very good
reasons, speakers find that they cannot attend a café. We
encourage speakers to find a replacement if at all possible or failing
that, to liaise with the project organiser and student organiser as soon