10 SES 04 B, Teaching Science (Part 1)
Paper Session: to be continued in 10 SES 06 A
In XXI century, citizens need to be more aware about emerging scientific and technological (S&T) developments in order to be active members of society. So, to understand these S&T developments, citizens have at their hand plenty of information that reaches from different sources and on several communicational platforms. This information must be processed and assimilated in a way that can lead to informed decisions. Schools must be an active part of this process, namely in what concerns to science education. As such, we can define this task as a major challenge for school system, that is, that “all students, although there social and individual differences, must develop a S&T literacy” (Laugksch, 2000). This scientific literacy promotion includes an understanding of basic science concepts, a links´ creation between science, technology and society, a development of positive attitudes concerning science and an increase of students´ critical thinking.
Studies taken about this topic concluded that in more advanced levels of education there is a growing disinterest on scientific themes (Graber, 1998; Osborne, 2003). At the same time, science teaching in first grades is relatively less important compared to other subjects, something compared to a general framework (Holbrook & Rannikmae, 2007). When we move to investigate the teaching role in promoting scientific literacy, the existing studies are even more residual, therefore there is no meaningful data to compare (Mbajiroug & Ali, 2003; Chin, 2005; Nwagbo, 2006).
This study is innovative insofar as it seeks to measure the degree of teacher´s scientific literacy in Guarda´s District, namely the interest/information on topics in Science & Technology. As a main objective, this work seeks to understand to what extent science learning is influenced by the role that teachers must play as a society´s actor.
The District of Guarda, located in an inland region of Portugal, is characterized by a high degree of human desertification, leading to a low involvement regarding education and culture. At isolated schools, students and teachers face a general feeble educational stimulation and, particularly, a rather low input in science awareness.
We need to develop educational projects based on inclusion for promoting equality regarding students’ access to scientific culture. A previous study (Reis, Leitão, Salgado & Ravasco, 2010) shows that pre and primary teachers presents a positive perception about the existence of an overall inclusive culture, which is essential for personal, professional and social success. Thus, the aim of this research focuses on measuring and understanding the vision that the teacher possesses from scientific world.
Several authors argue that the contemporary scientific knowledge isn´t valued if it´s restricted to a group of citizens or it isn´t subject to disclosure. Instead, for the moment, that this scientific knowledge is release the science´s status increase (Pelucha, 2007). However, it is essential to assess if the scientific knowledge´s spread arrives at citizens. Thus, this study is going to assess if there is a correlation between the interest in S&T themes by teachers, and the information gained about these themes through the media.
According to the existing literature and some exploratory studies developed previously (Graber, 1998; Osborne, 2003), this work seeks to answer the following questions:
Research question 1:The teacher´s interest on S&T themes is related to the teacher´s information, acquired through the media, for the same S&T themes?
Research question 2: The teacher´s engagement with S&T is related teacher´s interest on S&T themes?
Research question 3: The teacher´s engagement with S&T is related to the teacher´s information, acquired through the media, for the same S&T themes?
Chin, C. (2005). First-year pre-service in Taiwan - Do they enter the teacher program with satisfactory scientific literacy and attitudes toward science? International Journal of Science Education, 27 (13), 1559-1570. Eurobarometer (2010). Europeans, Science and Technology: Special Eurobarometer 340/Wav 73.1, Bruxelas Comissão Europeia, DG Research. Graber, W. (1998). Schooling for long-life attention to chemistry issues: The role of intereest and achievement. In L. Hoffman, A.Krapp, K.A. Rennin-ger & J.Baumert (Eds.) Seeon-conference on interest and gender. Seeon: IPN Kiel. Holbrook, J., & Rannikmae, M. (2007). The nature of science education enhancing scientific literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 29 (11), 1347-1342. Laugksch, R.C. (2000). Scientific literacy: Conceptual overview. Scientific Education, 84, 71-94. Mbajiorgu, N.M. & Ali, A. (2003). Relationshio between STS approach, scientific literacy and achievement in biology. Science Education, 87, 31-39. Nwagbo, C. (2006). Effects of two teaching methods on the achievement in and attitude to biology of students of different levels of scientific literacy. International Journal of Educational Research, 45, 216-229. Osborne, J. (2003) Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implication, International Journal of Science Education, 25, 1049-1079. Reis, C.F.S., Leitão. J.C., Salgado J.M. e Ravasco, C. (2010). The Inclusive culture in Guarda’s County: Teachers’ perceptions and practices. International Conference on New Horizons in Education – 2010 Proceedings Book, Famagusta, pp. 818-823.
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