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1 TRACES PROJECT Project no Project acronym: TRACES Project title: Transformative Research Activities. Cultural diversities and Education in Science Dissemination level: PU Thematic Priority: Science in Society Funding scheme: Collaborative project Deliverable N : 2.4 Brazil survey report Due date: Month 05 Actual submission date: 30/11/2010 Start date of project: 01/07/2010 Duration: 24 months Name of Coordinator: University of Naples Federico II Name of lead partner for this deliverable: Uniao Brasileira De Educacao E Assistencia

2 Project partner UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDUCACAO E ASSISTENCIA National coordinator JOÃO BATISTA HARRES Research team ANA MARIA MARQUES DA SILVA MAURIVAN GUNZTEL RAMOS VALDEREZ MARINA DO ROSÁRIO LIMA MARLISE HEEMANN GRASSI Collaborators: We aknowledge Gabriela Carolina Cattani Delord, Sandra Garcia Polino (PUCRS), Marcos Gervanio (UNIVATES), Gabriela Santos Lopes (PUCRS) for their contribution to this study. Contact information: 2

3 1. Introduction Based on a common rationale and action-research strategy, Brazilian TRACES s partner worked to carry out a survey of past ten years and present initiatives and policies in science education. The target group included school grades from 6th to 12th, according to the structure of the Brazilian school system, covering the entire cycle of science education. The actions were planned at the consortium level and implemented at the national level. The surveys looked for indicatives for the three thematic foci (the last Brazilian initiatives to improve science education; structural difficulties and barriers to accept research results; perception about science and function of science education), exploring students, principals, researchers and policy makers perceptions, conceptions, visions of science, and evaluation tools such as questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. The gender issues were also explored in the small and large scale surveys. In this step of exploratory research, the size of the country is an important variable to be considered. Brazil is a very big country with a more than an 8 million km 2. Ethnic diversity includes Indians, blacks, whites (Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, etc.) and mixed. These groups are divided into different regions of the country: mountains, plains, coast and far from the Atlantic Ocean, jungle and countryside in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The regions also feature diverse population, with urban centers with more than 10 million people (such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and those with population of less than one inhabitant per square km. Although, Rio Grande do Sul (RS), which is the southernmost state in the country, has fewer blacks and Indians than other states, it does feature significant socio-cultural diversity, which could be representative of the whole country. Its area is almost equal to Italy's 280,000 km 2 and the population reaches 10 million. It is concentrated mainly in the northern half of the state, where the population is predominantly of Italian and German stock. In this region, most cities have an average of twenty thousand inhabitants and the economy is closely associated to small farms. Moreover, the state of RS has regions of mountain and field (pampas, like the regions of the River Plate in Uruguay or Argentina). Hot and cold regions, with occasional snowfalls, with large (plantation) and small (smallholders) rural properties; with rich regions of strong industrialization and other extensive farming, with different economic levels. There are regions with small towns and many other cities with over one hundred thousand inhabitants. In the latter, in general, there is much poverty in the suburbs surrounding a generally well developed center. We must remember that socially and economically Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The educational level of the RS is larger than many states in the country, but the variety (standard error scores of national assessments) is relatively large, allowing us to conclude that there is some variety in educational level. In the next sections, a short review of Brazilian policies in science education is presented, as well as the results of large scale survey and small scale surveys. The large scale survey was done using an online questionnaire, sent to science education teachers. Individual interviews and small focus groups protocols were developed, and applied to the science education actors (school principals, policy makers, science education researchers, and science education teachers). 2. Desk Research: The Brazilian Science Education Policies 3

4 The preparation of the large and small scale survey required the adoption of a reference mark for the Brazilian public basic education policies. TRACES Brazilian research team determined that the study would consider the history of science education in Brazil from the launch of a document, named National Curricular Parameters or PCN (in Portuguese), (1998), resulting from the National Education Guidelines and Basis Law (LDBEN 9.394/96), enacted in Such law establishes education guidelines and foundation and provides for incentive to research and scientific investigation in its Section 43, subdivision III, seeking the development of science and technology and the creation and dissemination of culture, in order to provide citizens with a better understanding of themselves and the environment where they live. Section 26 recommends that basic education (including school grades from 1 to 10) curricula should have a common national basis and be supplemented by a diversified part in each education system and institution, as required by the regional and local characteristics of society, culture, economy and the clientele. In 1998, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Brazil provided the school community with a guideline document, named National Curricular Parameters (PCN), which proposes a curricular reorganization consistent with the provisions of Law 9.394/96. However, before getting into a description of the main epistemological and methodological concepts set forth in such documents, it is necessary to present a summary of science education history in Brazil in order to place science education in a wider historical context. Thus, a brief description of the Brazilian education scenario is given below, from its early days to the publication of the National Curricular Parameters (PCN). The concern with education in our country only began in the early 20th Century, and "the first schools of philosophy and sciences ( ) were installed from 1934 on, four centuries after the Brazilian colonization took place" (AZEVEDO, 1963, p. 427) and the Sciences education, until the late 50's, was mostly bookish and verbal, with little connection between theory and practice, prioritizing memorization to the detriment of understanding the concepts to be studied. This scenario was still dominant in the following decades. Only in last century's 60's changes occurred. In the post-64 period, the directions taken by the political ideology were felt in education. At this time, the Brazilian educational system was strongly influenced by American educators. The United States began to provide technical and financial assistance to the Ministry of Education and Culture. This partnership resulted in several cooperation agreements the so-called MEC/USAID1 Agreements which ultimately established educational reforms in Brazilian education. According to KRASILCHIK (2004), science education featured contradictions. First, because although official documents, such as the National Education Guidelines and Basis Law (LDB, 5692/71), supported scientific subjects, the curriculum had a technical bias and was strongly focused on professionalization, thereby reducing the available time for teaching science courses. Second, because although the curricula had propositions stressing the "acquisition of updated knowledge" and "experiencing the scientific method", in most Brazilian schools, science teaching continued to be descriptive, segmented and theoretical. Early in the 70 s decade, the "Science Teachers Training Centers" were created in Brazil. Their greatest commitment was to translate and implement Sciences curricular projects created in the 1 MEC USAID is the combination of the acronyms of Ministério da Educação (MEC) e United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 4

5 United States and England by teachers training (BORGES, 1997). At the time, it was a reaction to the traditional lecture-based method of teaching science. The curriculum projects answered to modernization expectation, since they encouraged experimentation and added an investigative nature to science teaching (BORGES,2004). The North-American curricular projects translated and adapted in Brazil, were consistent with notions about the nature of scientific knowledge and educational concepts inserted in a wider context, not only in a domestic scope (military rule) but also internationally (Cold War, reaction of the western powers to the launch of the first artificial satellite by the Soviet Union). The entire South America was involved in science curricular projects created in the United States and England. Although, domestic curricular projects were created at the time (BORGES, 1997). However, the projects had no significant effect. The classes remained predominantly lecture-based in most schools (KRASILCHIK, 2004). The 80's featured educational propositions developed by several education currents. All of them reflected the domestic yearning for democratization of the Brazilian society. Criticism, emancipation, education as social practice were expressions contained in educational projects, showing a common perspective (CANDAU, 2000). The concern with the reconstruction of democratic society was also reflected in science teaching; The range of proposals developed in this decade, with a great diversity of concepts about science teaching, involved several education institutions, such as policy makers, Universities and independent teachers teams. An example of this movement is the creation the Science Education Subprogram (SPEC), whose purposes were: to improve the teaching of Sciences and Mathematics, identify, train and support leadership, improve the teachers development and promote the search for local solutions in order to improve teaching and encourage research and implementation of new technologies (KRASILCHIK, 1987, p.25). The programs included incentive to investigation among their purposes and school laboratories were equipped on a small scale. However, experimental activities were not strongly implemented in Brazilian science education. Today there is no specific government programs to ensure the required infrastructure and teachers training to conduct experimental activities. In 1998, in alignment with LDBEN/96, the National Curricular Parameters (PCN)2 (1998) guideline document was published. Such document explains in its introduction that its contents must serve as national curricular reference to be discussed and turned into regional propositions and educational projects capable of "ensuring the right to have access to the essential knowledge for the building of citizenship to every student in any region of the country." (BRAZIL, 1998). Science teaching official documents states the purpose of developing "competences allowing the student to understand the world and act as an individual and citizen by employing scientific and technological knowledge (BRAZIL, 1998, p. 39). It is important to stress that this document was prepared with the participation of renowned researchers in the Brazilian academic community, associated to major universities in Brazil. Some of these researchers were interviewed in our survey. In 2002, the document PCN+: Supplementary Educational Instructions to the National Curricular Parameters - Sciences of Nature, Mathematics and their Technologies 3 was launched. On 2 Available at 3 Available at 5

6 its first pages, the document is introduced by the Minister of Education, who informs the teachers: "the purpose of this material is not to provide recipes, but to get closer to building a curriculum that may support the task of developing competences" (BRAZIL, 2002, p.2). It includes general competences, structural themes, the organization of school work and action strategies for teaching in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology fields. Based on the description presented so far, it is clear that there is no official sciences curriculum detailing required topics for the entire national territory. The general basic education, from the age of six to seventeen, is divided in Fundamental School (1st 9th grade) and High School (10th 12th grade). The formal science education takes place in the so called secondary level, from 6th to 9th grade, without separating in Physics, Chemistry and Biology subjects. In high school, from the 10th to the 12th grade, each subject is separated in individual courses. The topics established and depicted in the chart below are proposed as theme/structuring blocks in order to ensure that they will not be treated as isolated concepts (Chart 1). There are no conclusive studies regarding the legitimizing of these instructions within the school environment. However, researchers point out that many schools and teachers take these suggested instructions with disbelief or disinterest. They attribute this reaction to the fact that the material was produced without public discussion of their assumptions. Other studies show that, simultaneously with such resistance, the national curricular parameters end up influencing the educational activity of teachers (LOPES, 2002; SANTOS;2002; SOUZA, 2007). The Brazilian surveys conducted in TRACES Project support these different points of view. More recently, with the purpose of monitoring the quality of Brazilian schools, some assessment mechanisms were created, among them the Basic Education Assessment System (SAEB, in Portuguese), the Brazil Test (Prova Brasil, in Portuguese) and the Basic Education Development Index (IDEB, in Portuguese). Science education is not directly assessed in these indicators. However, the Ministry of Education has announced that it intends to include a science test beginning on the next evaluation, which will take place in 2011 (PRÉATICO, 2010). Education Level Secondary School (6th 9th grade) High School (10th 12th grade) Chart 1. Distribution of theme blocks on different education levels. Subjects Biological and Physical Sciences Physics Chemistry Biology Theme/structuring blocks (1) Human Being and Health; (2) Earth and Universe; (3) Technological Resources. (1) Movements: variations and conservation; (2) Heat, environment and power uses; (3) Sound, images and information; (4) Electric equipment sand telecommunications; (5) Matter and radiation; (6) Universe, Earth and Life. (1) Recognition and characterization of chemical transformations; (2) History of atomic models; (3) Energy and chemical transformation; (4) Dynamic aspects of chemical transformations; (5) Chemistry and atmosphere; (6) Chemistry and hydrosphere; (7) Chemistry and lithosphere; (8) Chemistry and biosphere; (9) Quantic models and chemical properties. (1) Interaction among living beings; (2) Quality of human life populations; (3) Identity of living beings, diversity of life, transmission of life and genetic handling; (4) Origin and evolution of life. Sources: National Curricular Parameters (1998) and PCN+ High School (2002) 6

7 Science education in Brazil has been assessed by means of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is an educational evaluation organized by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Brazil has elected to take part in this assessment. The evaluation started in 2000 and was held again in 2003 and The results in Science are: 375 points (2000); 390 points (2003 and 2006). The Science Proficiency Scale is made up of five levels, with grades varying from points (Level 1) to points (Level 6). The results obtained by Brazil in 2006 were described as follows: "on this level, the students show such a limited scientific knowledge standard that they can only apply it to a few family situations or present obvious explanations that almost immediately follow the presented evidence (WAISELFISZ, 2009, p. 26) Finally, some information is presented about professional background and entry into the teaching career. As for the capacity building of sciences teachers, it is essential to mention that, in Brazil, secondary and high school teachers must have taken an undergraduate course. These courses are characterized by the study of specific knowledge in each field (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), combined with the study of pedagogical subjects (methods courses), with interaction between theory and practice since the beginning. Teachers are admitted into public schools by means of competitive examinations. However, these examinations are not held very often, so it is common for properly admitted teachers to co-exist with teachers hired on a provisional basis. 3. Field Research: Interviews and Questionnaire 3.1. Methodology Teachers Large Scale Quantitative Research Data Collection A pilot application of the large scale questionnaire was done with a group of 16 (sixteen) in service science teachers, who attend our master degree program in science education. They made several suggestions and comments which, after discussions within our research team, we considered appropriate to be introduced into the Brazilian questionnaire (Annex A). The final online version of teachers' questionnaire is available in the website The questionnaire opening screen contains an explanation of the project, including the desired profile of the respondent and a commitment to keep the data confidential. The answers of the questionnaire are sent to the in text format. (Figure 1). 7

8 Figure 1 Introductory page of the large scale teachers questionnaire. The dissemination of the questionnaire was made by means of an invitation to participate and a request for promotion in the second week of October, to: students and people with master's science education from universities; state public school teachers, by means of regional education coordinators; municipal teachers in RS cities (such as São Leopoldo, Ijuí, Novo Hamburgo); teachers involved in Pre-Service Teachers in School Program; private school teachers of the Marist Brothers' civil institution, same as PUCRS; in service teachers who receive PUCRS pre service teachers in their classrooms; and teachers who are members of a state education innovation exchange network (Rede de Investigação na Escola, in Portuguese); and teachers participating in the 30th Chemistry Teaching Debate Meeting. No differential codes were given to keep track of people who were directly contacted from general sample. Sampling Our sample stratification follows four categories: a. geographical: center, south and north of state (consistent with the economic differences of each region); b. type of government of school: state, municipal and private (consistent with the fact that there are schools run by the state, municipalities and private schools. National schools do exist, but are rare); c. type of school by level: secondary school (6-9) and high school (10-12) (consistent with the fact that the school offers education at different ages); d. location: urban, suburban, and small town (consistent with the fact that the location of the school strongly affects the quality of education, as a result of social inequalities). Apart from the categorization in: school administration type, location, teaching and socioeconomic level, ensuring the representativeness of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the answers were also segregated by age, gender, initial and continued academic background, teaching experience, teaching subject, involvement in research projects, and others. 8

9 Data Analysis Because of the wide dissemination and use of social and professional networks to promote the questionnaire, we cannot assess the exact number of teachers who received the invitation message to take part in the research. We estimate that at least 1000 teachers were notified of the questionnaire. By November 15th 2011, 145 questionnaires had been received. In other words, in two weeks of promotion, we estimate to have received 15% of the questionnaires sent. The answers of the questionnaires are converted to the Excel table format and are analyzed through the use of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) statistical software Qualitative Research Data Collection The school principals were gathered individually, divided in two focal groups in the first week of October Eight principals from schools taking part in a Pre-service Teachers in the School Program (PIBID, in Portuguese), were interviewed. The protocol of the focal group is in Annex C.1. However, because of excessive appointments in their diaries, it was not possible to assemble focal groups of policy makers and teachers. In these two categories, the interviews were conducted on an individual basis. Seven policy-makers were interviewed individually and in person, among them 3 (three) municipal education secretaries one national sciences education policy coordinator, 2 (two) field coordination (Indian education and environmental education) of the state education secretariat and 1 (one) field coordinator (environmental education) of the Porto Alegre municipal secretariat. The interview schedule with the policy-makers in Annex B.1. Three researchers were interviewed in a focal group and three were interviewed individually. All the interviewees work in sciences education research, four of them working in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and one researcher in São Paulo. The interviews were conducted in person and took place during events of the research field held in October 2010 (EDEQ - Chemistry Teaching Debate Meeting and EPEF Physics Teaching Research Meeting) in the second week of October. The interview schedule with the researchers in Annex C.3. Eight teachers teaching sciences in elementary school were interviewed individually and in person, in their respective schools. The interview schedule with the teachers in Annex B.2. Sampling 32 subjects (8 in each category: school principals, policy makers, science education researchers, and science teachers) were planned to be interviewed individually and or in focus groups. Until now, we have reached 26 respondents: 8 school principals, in two focus groups; 5 policy makers, all individually interviewed; 6 science education researchers, in one focus group and 3 individually interviewed; 7 science teachers, all individually interviewed. Data Analysis The qualitative analysis was done using the Textual Discursive Analysis framework (MORAES; GALIAZZI, 2007), that was done using the following steps: unitarization (identification of 9

10 significant units), categorization (meaningful categories construction), meta-text production, and interpretation. The answers were categorized in: (1) Respondents Profile (undergraduate/graduate background and teaching experience); (2) Science Education Perceptions (aims, science education vision); (3) Research and Innovation in Science Education (knowledge of science education research, relevance, applicability, school-research gap); (4) Public Policies in Science Education Perceptions (knowledge, school impact) Results Large Scale Survey Results The general characteristics of the respondents are displayed in Chart 2 below: N Mean Age (s.d.), in years Chart 2 General characteristics of the respondents (until November 15 th, 2011) Percentage of women Percentage of undergraduated teachers Mean time (s.d.) of the undergraduate course conclusion, in years Mean time of teaching experience, in years (10) 73% 87% 12 (10) 13,5 (9,5) Chart 3 shows the frequency distribution of teachers by undergraduate courses. As it can be seen, nearly 75% of the respondents have undergraduate degree in the Sciences fields. Chart 3 Number of teachers by field of formation Undergraduate Courses Frequency Percentage (%) Sciences 7 4,8 Biological Sciences 32 22,1 Exact Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) 4 2,8 Physics Chemistry 24 16,6 Mathematics 15 10,3 English Language 1 0,7 Languages 4 2,8 Pedagogy Psychology 2 1,4 Not informed 11 7,6 Total The majority of the subjects have graduate degree (Chart 4). Approximately one third of all the respondents has Masters or Doctor's degree. Compared with the total number of science teachers 10

11 in the state and country, it can be asserted that this sample is not representative. Probably, this bias is due to the dissemination strategy of the questionnaire, described previously. Chart 4 Number of respondents by graduation degree Field of Graduate Program Frequency % Completed Doctoral degree 3 2,1 In progress Doctoral degree 13 9 Completed Masters degree 24 16,6 In progress Masters degree 28 19,3 Completed Lato sensu degree 37 25,5 In progress Lato sensu degree 8 5,5 Not informed or have only undergraduate degree 32 22,1 Total The graduate degree of the respondents is distributed into three fields: Science Teaching, General Education, and Specific Science Fields (Chart 5). Chart 5 Number of respondents by field of graduate degree Fields % General Education (Special Education, Information Technology in Education, others) 30 Science Education 40 Specific Science Fields 30 Total 100 The teachers subject is focused on the content of Science in the last four years of fundamental education, and in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology teaching in high school. One fifth of the respondents (21%) do not work in these subjects (Chart 6). Chart 6 Number of teachers by level and subject teaching Subjects Frequency % Biology in High School 14 9,7 Physics in High School 39 26,9 Chemistry in High School 23 15,9 Science in Secondary School 43 29,7 Do not act in the subjects mentioned above 21 14,5 Not informed 5 3,4 Total

12 In the questionnaire, the information concerning the students social class was asked with three available choices: high, middle, and lower. Afterwards, this information is correlated with the level of school administration: state control, municipal control, and private control (in Brazil, federal public schools are rare). It was found a clear tendency that the poorest people are in the public schools (state and municipal schools) and the majority of the students from high and middle class studies in private schools (Chart 7). This fact is in agreement with the structural difficulties in the public schools, making those who can pay to choose for the private schools, which are considered, at large, better able to enable the entrance in higher education. Chart 7 Frequency of social class in different types of schools of the respondents Social Type High Middle Low Total State Municipal Private Not informed Total As it was stated before, there are three main regions of Rio Grande do Sul discriminated, Northern, Center and Southern, in order to consider the socio-cultural disparity. As can be observed in Chart 8, there is a predominance of schools located on the central part of the cities on the three main regions. None of the teachers work in indigenous school. Region (sociocultural disparity) Chart 8 Schools location zone by state region School s location zone Not Rural Total Suburb Downtown informed area South Center North Total Afterward, it is emphasized the teachers general opinions about gender issues, science teaching goals, and public policies. Referring to gender (Question 11), as it can be observed in Chart 9, it can be noticed that more than one half of the teachers do not notice distinctions between boys and girls (29,7% + 26,2%), concerning to their efficiency, behavior, or interest along some science activity practice. Chart 9 Gender distinction perception of the respondents Did you notice differences between boys and girls? Frequency % Yes 63 43,4 In general, I don t notice differences 43 29,7 No 38 26,2 Not informed 1 7 Total ,0 12

13 There is a difference in favor of those who believe that gender differences exist (58%) in performance in different topics (Question 12), However, there are much more respondents (81%) who do not consider the number of boys and girls for activities planning, for example, working in groups or individually (Question 13). Regarding science education objectives, the majority (98%) pointed the science education for participation in society (science for all) (37%) and science education for critical thinking (61%). Only one subject, which background is not different from most people, chooses for becoming a scientist as science education objective. For almost half of the subjects, most colleagues would have the same opinion. There were no differences on the colleagues opinion for the two main objectives. Chart 10 Colleagues agreement Chart Critical thought Science for Opinion development everyone Total Frequency Frequency Frequency Percent Almost all The majority One part Some or any Not informed Total For Brazil, they were listed in question 24 of the questionnaire six main public policies, as shown on the left column of Chart 11. The left column of this chart shows this program dominant evaluation by the subjects. None of the listed policies received a majoritary evaluation as good or bad. There is a tendency of positive evaluation for these policies. The programs A and E were the ones which the most dedication and indication as been the best (37% and 25% respectively). The citation of other policies was not relevant, as only seven teachers mentioned something about them. Chart 11 Public policies evaluation Name, in Portuguese, of the national and state public Majority In English policies to Science education Frequency A Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais (PCN) National Curriculum policy Good (52%) B - Referenciais Curriculares do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul State Curriculum Policy Good (33%) C Programa Nacional de Livro Didático (PNLD) D Programa Pró-Ciências E Programas de Avaliação F Programa Institucional de Iniciação á Docência (PIBID) about them. Distribution of textbook in Schools Science Content in-service courses program Assessments Program of pres-service teachers in ten schools Equal Good and Regular (70% total) Good (37) Good and Regular (75% total) Good (23%) The citation of other policies was not relevant, as only seven teachers mentioned something Now, are presented the results of the questions which allowed the opinion about how some facts influence on practice, about interaction with the University and about some aspects which could be improved on teaching of Science. 13

14 The question number 27 presented list of factor and asked how those influenced on the teaching practice. Most of them were considered as having a positive influence, highlighting the formation, which was considered as positive and highly positive for 94% of the subjects. The question number 29 asked if the teacher had already participated of some innovation program or research. In this question there was equilibrium between yes and no (66 and 70 subjects, respectively). Among those who answered yes there was a question about if it was positive or negative this experience and to whom. Chart 12 Evaluation of the fact that influence the teaching practice Factors Predominant Influence Using of the textbook Positively (60%) Interaction with fellow teachers Positively (55%) Interaction with the principal Positively (50%) School assessment system Positively (45%) Your pedagogical formation Positively and Very Positively (94%) Your mastery of particular contents Very Positively (50%) Students previous knowledge Positively (50%) Students' sociocultural lower level Negatively (30%) Among the teachers who considered the experience positively, the majority highlighted the idea of the participation in improvement programs or in research allowing the contact with the scientific method and with the research practice. The contact between the teacher and the research is not frequent. This reinforces the importance of interaction between University and school for the perception of new realities, the exchange of experiences, and the construction of new knowledge. Finally, some teachers reported that from this research there are possibilities of tranforming and modifying the teaching practice, as can be observed in the quotation To have to knowledge about the construction of scientific research, as well as to identify some of the problems in the actual teaching and to try to adapt this view to my classes. The majority of these teachers recognizes that the research is positive for both teachers and students, since it modifies the teaching practice, with positive results for the student. This can be observed in the report: It is positive for the teacher, because he/she can improve his/her practice, which reflected positively in the students leaning process. For those who considered the experience negatively, the causes are related to the necessity of longer time, of physical space, of investment, and of materials in order to develop the research practice, as can be observed in the report: I already participated in the formation in CTS (Science, Technology, and Society) and applied the elements in the classroom. I considered it interesting, but the demand of a longer time is negative and we have to work with the common contents. Regarding the factors that might improve the Science teaching listed in question 30, the Chart 13 presents the percentage of the prevailing opinion in each one of them. It calls attention the necessity of changes in the legal requirements and in the involvement of external factors to the practice seem to be low rated. On the other hand, the initial and the ongoing formation and the resources (labs, Internet access, etc) are considered as extremely important in order to change the 14

15 teaching practice. This opinion would be followed by most colleagues, according to the subjects who answered the questionnarie. However, those who belived that just one part of the teachers would agree with it is also meaningful (nearly 40%). Chart 13 Factors that could change the teaching process Actions that can improve the Science teaching and learning at school (%) Middle (%) High (%) Changes on legal exigencies 35 Growth on recourses for schools (materials and financial) 73 Change on formation (initial and continuant) 79 Change on teachers selection process 45 Reorganization on teachers work 65 Involve of school communities on teaching practice Change on learning evaluation criteria 45 Exchange of information with colleagues about good and bad action 76 Construction of laboratories 74 Easy access to internet 68 New learning material development 66 Connection of the practice with the results of the research 66 Finally, about the teachers' contentment, Chart 14 displays the contentment percentage (or discontentment) in the three dimensios listed in the questionnaire (Question 33). As it can be observed in the chart, the dominant feeling is of contentment in the three dimensions. However, few were the ones who were fully satisfied. Besides, the discontentment level is not worthless, specialy in relation to the personal aspect. Chart 14 Level of intelectual, personal, and social contentment of the teachers From the standpoint (%) Fully discontented Discontented Contented Fully Contented Intellectual Personal Social Small Scale Survey Results Respondents Profile School Principals The group is composed by eight teachers who were part of the two focus groups; six of these teachers are licensed in Chemistry, Science, Philosophy, Pedagogy, Physical Education, and Mathematics. The two remaining teachers: one of them is licensed and did not inform her subject field; another is undergraduate in Psychology. The teacher undergraduate in Chemistry is also licensed in Chemistry Engineering. Four of them are specialists in Management School, one in Psychology, and the other in Psychomotor. The eight of them are women. Politic Makers Five teachers involved in the working up of Educational Policy and licensed in Social Education (one has not Graduation Course; the remaining four teachers: 1 Natural History, with Masters degree in Paleontology; 2 Physics, with Doctor's degree in Physics; 3 Languages, with 15

16 Specialization degree in Portuguese and English; and 4 Pedagogy, with Specialization degree in Psychology) were part of the individual interviews. The politic makers act, respectively: as an indigenous school coordinator in Rio Grande do Sul and for Protocolo Guarani at national level, which is a Teaching Course focused on Guarani instruction; as a tecnitian of Environmental Education; as a USP researchers; as a Secretary of Education from Lajeado City (Rio Grande do Sul) and as the Head of ASMEVAT (Associação dos Secretários Municipais de Educação do Vale do Taquari 4 ); and as a Secretary of Education from Estrela City (Rio Grande do Sul). Science Teachers Seven teachers were interviewed individually. The sample of teachers: four of them have Biological Science degree, working as teachers of Science in the Primary Education, and in Biology in High School and Higher Education; two of them have Mathematics degree, being one of the m licensed in Physics, with both acting in High School and in Prep school in the content of Physics. One teacher has degree in Physics and works as teachers of the same content. Three from the seven teachers are taking Graduate degrees in the field of Science teaching. Five teachers work in schools located in average and big cities and the other two work in schools located in small towns. Five teachers work for state public schools and/or municipal public schools and the other two in private schools. Four of the seven teachers are or were participants of research projects in partnership with universities, the three remaining teachers have not reported close participation in research projects. Science Teaching Researchers Three researchers of focus group were interviewed, who have degree in Chemistry and have Doctor's degree in Education. Three Physics teachers, with Doctor's degree in Education, were part of the individual interviews Science Education Perceptions: Study of science in the preservation of life and environment School Principals The school principals understand the Science teaching still performed in an orthodox way, using conventional materials, such as blackboard, textbook, and chalk. This assumption is evident through the quotations: the classes are mostly theoretical, the teaching is reduced to the internal environment of the classroom, the content must be written down in the blackboard 5 (Principal A); I believe the facts are different from school to school, there is the teacher who is in the classroom ( ) there is the teacher who is detached for his/her singular work 6 (Principal B). The school principals defend the thesis that the Science teaching must have an interdisciplinary character. This assumption is in accordance with the quotations: need of an implementation of an interdisciplinary perspective 7 (Principal A); We are beginning to move toward interdisciplinary ( ) this is very difficult for not the 4 Municipal Secretaries Association of Vale do Taquari. 5 Original quotation: as aulas são bem teóricas, o ensino é dentro da sala de aula, tem que escrever o conteúdo no quadro. 6 Original quotation: acho que a realidade é diferente de uma escola para outra, tem aquele professor que está em sala de aula ( ) tem aquele professor que se destaca mais porque trabalha de forma diferenciada. 7 Original quotation: Necessidade de implementar uma perspectiva interdisciplinar. 16

17 whole group gets involved 8 (Principal B); there is interdisciplinary, but it still very uncommon to happen 9. However, the principals highlight that the innovative enterprises are personal. Politic Makers The politic makers present situations quite diversified and more comprehensive in relation to Science teaching, which involve: a) Contribution to the preservation of life: There is no meaning if you are a person who preserves the nature, if you do not preserve your own body, your health; thus, the major objective is to preserve life, perpetuation of the species, either concerning environment, health, and devastation 10 (Teacher G). b) Approach and integration with other fields of knowledge: The geography we teach for fifth grade, for instance, and the physical geography we work with natural things, of space; thus, when you work with rocks, for instance, in science you can work it as well, so it is common the geography teacher and the science teacher to sit together in order to decide what is going to be worked with the students 11 (Teacher G). c) Research contribution for the teaching staff reflection: First, in initial grades, we have that part of knowledge which is worked and deepened; then, this knowledge you search, question, and research, makes you reflect 12 (Teacher G). d) Cultural and historical contextualization of the content of Science as, for instance, the role of this field along the indigenous natural knowledge, in the service of environmental protection: An Indian, for example, from the settlement, in the place he used to throw the banana peel and the orange peel, the nature absorbed their materials. Now, he throws disposable diapers and the PET bottle and the soil does not absorb it any longer; then, comes the science, the science, not the science of the Indian, but the one from the academy to show what it was, what it is and how we can deal with it, how to equate it. Nowadays, there is selective collection in the settlements and the disposable diapers are worst than the PET bottles, because diapers you cannot reuse, while the PET bottle you can. The schools is already dealing with it, never allowing the removal from the focus of natural science 13 (Teacher G). e) Initiation of research activities by students: 8 Original quotation: Estamos começando a caminhar para a interdisciplinaridade ( ) é bastante difícil porque nem todo o grupo se envolve. 9 Original quotation: existe interdisciplinaridade, mas ainda é muito difícil de acontecer 10 Original quotation: Não adianta tu ser um ser que preserva a natureza, se tu não preserva teu corpo, tua saúde, então o objetivo principal é preservar a vida, perpetuação da espécie, tanto questão ambiental quanto questão da saúde, quanto questão de devastação. 11 Original quotation: A geografia do 5 ano, por exemplo, e a geografia física tu trabalha coisas naturais, do espaço, então, quando tu trabalhas em rochas, por exemplo, mas em ciências tu também trabalha na geografia então é comum o professor de geografia e de ciências sentarem juntos e dizer assim eu trabalho isso e tu aquilo 12 Original quotation: Primeiro series inicias, tu tens aquela parte do conhecimento que tu trabalha, cada vez tu aprofundas mais, e busca, e questiona, e pesquisa e fazem ai você refletir mais. 13 Original quotation: Um índio, por exemplo, lá na aldeia onde ele jogou a casca da banana e a da laranja no chão a natureza absorvia. Hoje ele joga a fralda descartável e a garrafa PET e não absorve, então ai entra a ciência, a ciência do individuo não índio da academia para mostrar o quê que era, o quê que é e como a gente tem que aprender a lidar, a equacionar. Hoje tem coleta seletiva nas aldeias e fralda descartável é pior que garrafa PET, porque fralda tu não reaproveita e garrafa PET se reaproveita, a escola já esta trabalhando com isso nunca deixando o foco de ciências natural 17

18 For me, the involvement of students in the act of investigation, in the research, in the use of scientific data with everyday answers, that is, to teach the student to search answers scientifically verified for his/her own questioning 14 (Teacher S). f) Understanding of languages as a learning process: (...), it is the development of the languages learning. I see science as significant, science in a broader way, Science and Technology, as the mastery of languages as important for all people, and not just for those dedicated to science; for this reason, it has a clear role in the basic education, Primary Education to Higher Education. Languages are things to be spoken and comprehended, read, written, the latter being the most important. It is obvious that language only makes sense when it is comprehended. I can write transgenic, with correct accentuation (in Portuguese) having no idea of what it means 15 (Teacher M). g) Science teaching characterization as instrumentalization to solve everyday situations (operational conception): It (science) allows to organize and to establish, in this case, instruments in accordance with the problem they are facing 16 (Teacher M). h) Science teaching characterization as worldview (philosophical concept): Worldview has a sense of ownership; everybody I that I comprehend, whose language I rule, but I also know how the world works, I know how it works... I am giving a too pragmatic character to it, but the idea is not this pragmatism. I associate the worldview to a scientific meaning, the scientific worldview I associate to an aesthetic meaning, to an ethic meaning, and, why not mention, to a certain fruition 17 (Teacher M). i) Science and scientific knowledge characterization as human construction: The natural sciences are not about nature itself, we call them natural sciences, but they are actually a human being construct, therefore historical and marked by the time in the relationship instruments; in its own views have a historical character, therefore transitory and sees the science not as an absolute set, but as a permanent set and liable to doubt 18 (Teacher M). Two politic makers did not express their views and objectives of Science teaching. 14 Original quotation: Para mim o envolvimento do aluno no ato da investigação, da pesquisa, da utilização de dados científicos com as respostas do cotidiano, ou seja, ensinar o aluno a buscar respostas cientificamente comprovadas para os seus questionamentos, até mesmo aquelas questões do cotidiano. 15 Original quotation: [...] é o desenvolvimento de um aprendizado de linguagens. Eu vejo a ciência como importante, ciência no sentido mais amplo, Ciência e Tecnologia, como domínio de linguagens de importância para todas as pessoas e não para quem se dedica a ciências e por isso mesmo um papel bastante nítido na educação de base, educação fundamental à educação superior. Linguagens, são coisas para ser ditas e compreendidas, lida, escrita, essa eu acho que é a primeira. É claro a linguagem só faz sentido quando ela é compreendida. Eu posso escrever transgênico, com circunflexo direitinho, mas não fazer a mínima idéia do que eu escrevi certo. 16 Original quotation: Ela permite organizar ou situar, nesse caso, instrumentos de acordo com o problema que eu vou enfrentar. 17 Original quotation: Visão de mundo tem um sentido de apropriação, todo mundo que eu compreendo, cuja linguagem eu domino, mas eu também sei como esse mundo funciona, sei como funciona... eu estou dando um caráter um pouco pragmático demais, mas a idéia não é esse pragmático. Eu associo a visão de mundo a um sentido cientifico, a visão de mundo cientifico eu associo isso a um sentido estético, a um sentido ético e a, por que não dizer, uma certa fluição Original quotation: as ciências naturais não são da natureza, a gente chama da ciência da natureza, mas elas são uma construção do ser humano, portanto histórica, portanto datada nos instrumentos de relações, nas próprias visões que têm então esse caráter histórico, portanto transitório e a ciência não como um conjunto de certeza, mas como permanente e direito a duvida. 18

19 Science Teachers For Science teachers, the teaching objectives for this field can be categorized into: a) Development of abilities (observation, logical reasoning, critical thought, and autonomy): First of all, I try to elaborate activities that develop students' personal formation, citizenship, critical and reflexive thought. The content is secondary to these topics 19 (ST02). b) knowledge of particular contents: I try to exemplify that great part of the employments nowadays require just High School level of knowledge; thus, High School is the basic limit in order to obtain the job; however, if they want a better occupation they need to take Higher Education or Technical Education, and in this time it will be required the contents I am teaching now. ( ) I try to clarify that a particular content they are studying to take vestibular, or an official examination, will be used throughout their lives 20 (ST03). c) Comprehension of the world, of the reality, and of the phenomena: I try to discover their empirical experiences until then, and bring their background to class; each of them has a different experience: there are the ones who shout I do not want to learn this, I want to learn cooking and ironing, so I also consider these necessities asking them what it is ironing?, where is connected the iron?, is it possible to iron without electricity? How much does electricity cost? I have to deal with their experiences in the classroom, but I have to relate them to theory as well 21 (ST06). Science Teaching Researchers The science teaching in the perspective of the researchers: a) It continues, at large, to be developed in a transmissive, informative manner. b) It presents an adaptation to official evaluations. c) It is taught, often, by teachers with formation in other fields (such as Languages, History, and Geography). d) There is a predominance, in teaching training courses, of theory and of discourse, and this practice is reproduced by students when they are in the teacher position. e) There is the concern with concepts and experiments with no relation to everyday phenomena. f) The Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais (PCN) are guidelines developed by the Federal 19 Original quotation: Primeiramente para a formação pessoal deles, para o exercício da cidadania, para que os alunos sejam críticos, reflexivos, procuro elaborar atividades que desenvolvam estes princípios. O conteúdo tem ficado até em segundo plano. 20 Original procuro exemplificar que a maioria dos empregos hoje m dia o ensino médio já é o limite básico pra tu conseguir o emprego, então se eles quiserem uma posição melhor, vão ter que procurar o ensino superior ou o ensino técnico, e nessa hora eles vão precisar desses conteúdos que estão vendo agora.[...] procuro falar que determinado conteúdo eles vão utilizar para vestibular, pra concurso, que eles vão ouvir o resto da vida deles pra qualquer coisa que forem fazer. 21 Original quotation: Eu procuro ver quais as experiências que eles já viveram até então na vida deles, então eu tento trazer o conhecimento que eles já têm, cada um tem uma vivência diferente, tem gente que grita eu não quero aprender isso, quero só aprender cozinhar e passar roupa, então até nisso eu pego, perguntando o que é passar uma roupa, onde o ferro ta ligado, tem como passar roupa sem energia elétrica? Custa quanto a luz? Eu tenho que trabalhar com a vivencia deles na sala de aula, mas tenho que relacionar a teoria com isso. 19

20 government to education in Brazil and are separate by content) are not well known and used by teachers, despite being valued by researchers. g) Similar teaching methodologies are developed for both teaching training courses and bachelor's degree, in disregard to the specific characteristics of these fields. The researchers propose: a) An improvement in ongoing training of teachers. b) An opportunity for the student to visualize a broader worldview and of the society, in a critical perspective, in close relation between social dynamics and scientific and technological knowledge. c) A construction of teaching conceptions having as background the philosophy of life and the teacher's political orientation Research and Innovation in Science Education (What does the teacher know? How it sees the applicability?) Schools Principals The school s principals have a view about research and researches taking in consideration their own experiences. About that, they say: a) The researchers collect data and do not give a feedback: ( ) the research is a single hand way ( ) we open the school to them, we answer a lot of questions and the feedback is never made known 22 (Principal A). b) The University is distant from the school: The University is too far from the school and the main problem is that the University does not know the school s context 23 (Principal B). c) The research does not consider the school reality and the current problem of the school: The researches cannot go toward the future; they must be directed to the present time, trying to end up existing problems 24 (Principal C); the University has to be aware of how the school is and not of how the school should be 25 (Principal D). Politic Makers In its majority, the Politic makers do not know the researches in the field of Science teaching. This statement is proved through the following quotation: Unfortunately I do not [know]. ( ) It is not 22 Original quotation: (...) a pesquisa é uma via de mão única (...) a gente abre a escola, a gente responde um monte de questionários e os resultados nunca voltam. 23 Original quotation: a universidade está muito afastada da escola e o maior problema é que a universidade não conhece o contexto da escola. 24 Original quotation: pesquisas não podem ser futuristas, elas devem pensar o presente para tentar solucionar problemas atuais. 25 Original quotation: a universidade precisa se dar conta de como a escola é e não como a escola deveria ser. 20

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