Title: Teacher Training in Non-formal Science Learning Contexts: Contributions to Elementary Teachers’ Knowledge and Motivation
Stream: Professional Training, Development & Concerns in Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Isabel Borges, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Isabel Chagas, University of Lisbon, Portugal
The relevance of non-formal contexts for science education, encompassing social, environmental, current, and critical issues, has been recognized by numerous studies which recommend integrated and interdisciplinary practices, starting at children’s early age. However, according to recent international reports, too many students show poor scientific literacy, and many teachers do not integrate non-formal approaches into their practice. Besides, there is a lack of studies on teacher training programs focused on these contexts. The purpose of the study was to appraise a science teacher training course offered by a network of science centers in Portugal since 2015 concerning its relevance to elementary teachers' professional development. The European Space Agency supported the design of both the syllabus and the educational kit. The course is framed in the interdisciplinary STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) approach, promoting inquiry-based science learning of a set of themes associated with Astronomy and Space. A qualitative and interpretative approach was followed. Participants were 143 elementary teachers throughout seven editions of the course. Data collection procedures were a final questionnaire, participant observation, content analysis of the participants´ individual written reflections, and the lesson plans they designed during the course. Most teachers showed knowledge improvements about the course subjects and how to teach them, which was evident when analyzing their lesson plans and observing their presentations. Most teachers revealed higher motivation and enthusiasm towards science and a willingness for more professional development. Three schools where participants taught had the initiative to disseminate the program contents to other teachers in school.
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