Monday, June 13, 2016
Paula Leighton N.
El Mercurio

Collaboration among teachers, partnerships with scientists and a national programme for the teaching of the natural sciences seek to create scientifically literate citizens.

Active science classes, where the teacher stimulates the curiosity of students and these elaborate scientific questions and hypotheses, experiment and use the scientific method to reach conclusions, they are some ingredients of inquiry-based science classes.

Despite the fact that seven years ago began to implement pilots in classrooms around the country, This methodology has failed to scale.

“Many of these experiences in teaching the science we are happy and have given excellent results, but in spite of that is still keeping the teaching traditional of science. What happens in the system education??, Why not change occurs?”, said Pilar Reyes, Executive Director of IBSE program (Inquiry-based science education), during the “Integrated STEM learning and teaching seminar”, organized last week by the Center for advanced research in education (CIAE), the u. of Chile.

Teachers of science, academics and scientists have several answers to these questions. And also ideas to move toward a science education where students will be more protagonists of their learning.

The limitations

“Science classes are still exhibition and above all contenidistas: the curriculum requires spending much content that, In addition, are all directed toward the PSU. That makes it difficult to incorporate more educational activities or that they allow to develop a scientific thinking”, says Roxana Nahuelcura, Biology teacher of the Lyceum 1 Javiera Carrera and guide of several students who have won awards at science fairs in Chile and abroad.

To that, Adds, must be added to the lack of time for biology, Chemistry and physics in the curriculum: two hours per week by industry. “That means eight hours per month, two of them are for evaluations”.

Javier Jimenez, Vice President of the Chilean society of science education (SChEC) and member of the Faculty of education of the U. Católica Silva Henríquez, It aims at the formation of the Faculty of science. “It is one thing to know science and another is to know how to teach it. And those teaching specific are little represented in the plans of study of the pedagogies in science”.

This generates a vicious circle, According to Pilar Reyes. “The pedagogy works much by modeling. If you learn science teaching, gonna teach dictating. If you learn doing, going to teach making”.

But even when these innovations have joined the training of teachers, says Jimenez, “many frustrated even since they do practice, because they are with very little administrative and pedagogical flexibility for changes in practices in school”.

What to do

An of them big promises to change the teaching traditional of them science natural is the program of inquiry scientific for the education in science (ICEC), launched in October 2015 by the Ministry of Education.

This indicates that the students “Learn scientific content, but at the same time develop creativity, develop scientific questions, argue based on evidence and use logical thinking”, says Carlos Alvarez, National Coordinator of the school team, of the Ministry of education (see text box).

“I use much TED talks, National Geographic videos, scientific news or the history of how it came to the knowledge that I will pass, to start a class or open a discussion”, suggests Roxana Nahuelcura. While finding them takes time, Alvarez recalls that “National Teaching Policy considers for 2017 an increase in non-school hours to plan classes”.

For Pilar Reyes, “the professor in loneliness is harmful. There are that support it with networks that include to other teachers, academic and scientific”.

Several experiences where teachers and scientists working together have given good results.

The Institute of neuroscience in biomedicine (BNI), the u. of Chile, has already trained 100 science teachers to use digital material and guides developed in agreement with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in their classes (USA), and adapted to the teaching of science by inquiry ( ). Rodrigo Tapia, biochemist and director of Extension and education of the BNI, It believes that it could go even further to create bridges: “Scientists could offer summer internships to teachers of science in their laboratories, for know inside how science daily”.