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An Overview of Teacher Training in Portugal

O. Ferreira1, A. Silva2, M. F. Barreiro1

1Polytechnic Institute of Bragança and Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering

2Agrupamento de Escolas Abade de Baçal, Portugal

oferreira@ipb.pt, adiliatsilva@gmail.com, barreiro@ipb.pt

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of teacher´s training in Portugal concerning initial teacher training (ITE), specialized training and in-service teacher training, as considered by the Portuguese legislation. A special emphasis was given to training in information and communication technologies (ICT) and to teaching of experimental sciences for primary school. Moreover, chemistry teacher’s training was contextualized in this scenario. Presently ITE corresponds to level 7 of the European Qualifications Framework (master degree). It is a career-long professional development, where research-based and in context practice are important features. Nevertheless the implicit valorisation of the teaching career arising from Bologna process implementation, a master degree is needed for all teaching levels; a lack of motivation to pursue teaching careers is generally noticed in Portugal as a consequence of the actual context of a surplus and unemployment among the new teachers. Following ITE, in-service training allows teachers to complement, deepen and update their knowledge and professional competences. This is an important measure for in-service long date teachers’ and particularly relevant for the ones that, following teacher career reorganization, had to readapt to new curricula and even new teaching subjects.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.10.05

Posted by J.A. Martín-Lagos (Spain)

Message: The Initial Teacher Training in Portugal, specialized training and in-service teacher training play a fundamental role in the spanish educational system. This document shows that ICTs are very important for the development of teacher training. The ICT are in fact described in the paper like a fundamental tool that need to be diffused and incremented within the specific competences of teachers that mean to use them. We can see in examples in teachers’ training, in which we can recognize the importance of science teaching in primary school. Moreover, the project described in this paper provide school teachers with existing resources and materials (particularly online sources) to teach Chemistry in a new way. I consider this paper relevant for my teaching practice because it contains useful information for my work.

Date: 2014.09.28

Posted by A. J. Torres (Spain )

Message: This paper refers to the Initial Teacher Training in Portugal, particularly the initial teacher training, specialized training and in-service teacher training. The role of ICTs is very important for the development of teacher training and it is shown in this document. We can see in it a good example in teachers’ training, in which we can recognize
the importance of science teaching in primary school. Moreover, the project described in this paper try to provide school teachers with existing resources and materials (particularly online sources) to teach Chemistry in a more innovative, attractive and interactive approach. From my point of view, this article is interesting and relevant and it has enriched my view of the teaching of Sciences from the point of view of teacher training.

Date: 2013.11.25

Posted by Erdem Çakır (Turkey)

Message: Teacher training is a very important issue which many countries deal with. This paper refers to the Initial Teacher Training in Portugal and with the important usage of IC-Technology and the improvement of teacher’s skills towards and interactive teaching process.
As similar in many countries, teacher training is a kind of a crux in the education system. This paper deals with this issue and it describes each training unit in a detailed way and stresses the effects and importance. Especially the teacher’s skill in relationship with technology, i.e. ICT, is highlighted and also the laboratorial experiences are focused on. It is stated that teachers have to be provided with the appropriate sources suchlike technological devices and materials in order to use them in the classroom. Nowadays, it is crucial for chemistry teachers to be aware of the usage of IC-Technology. In other words, chemistry teachers need to be able to use technology-especially ICT- included in their teaching methods in according to widen the horizon of teaching opportunities. This paper also sees the initial training in the in-service training as basis in improving teaching skills. The report also tells us that ICT is mainly used for preparing the class instead of using it for teaching interactively. This highlights the requirement of skilful teachers who are able to use ICT in the classroom.
In conclusion, the usage of IC-Technology is inevitable in classroom teaching and the teachers must be taught from an early stage for an efficient use of ICT in classrooms. According to this, teachers have to be provided with the demanded sources as well as in physical and mental manner. The interactive teaching method supports the class atmosphere, innovation and facilitates the teaching significantly.

Date: 2013.06.20

Posted by Inforef (Belgium)

Message: This paper is relevant because it presents an overview of teacher´s training in Portugal taking in consideration the initial teacher training (ITE), specialized training and in-service teacher training, underlining at the same time the importance of these trainings for any teacher in any country.
Each kind of training is described underlining its impact and relevance.
A special emphasis is given to training in information and communication technologies (ICT) and to teaching of experimental sciences, giving to the article a updated character.
The sixth paragraph of the paper is the most relevant for chemistry teacher introducing the role of the information and communication technologies (ICT) and the importance of teacher training.
Special attention is given to the need of provide school teachers with existing resources and materials (particularly online sources) to teach Chemistry in a more innovative, attractive and interactive approach.
It’s indeed important for chemistry teacher to be aware of the importance of be updated both in terms of introduction of ICT in science education and in service training.
The chapter focus so on the exploitation of ICT and the valorization of enquiry based methods and solutions and spread knowledge on the actual situation in Portugal relatively to the use of ICT in education underling the support of the Portuguese government that has developed several initiatives in this field like the “Technological Plan” that resulted in well-equipped schools and the organization of several training opportunities for teachers.
The paper consider the initial training within the in-service training a fundamental base for the development of teaching skills.
The main approach that is suggested is the technological one that, along with a process of competences building for teachers, can make of chemistry a more innovative, attractive and interactive subject.
The ICT are in fact described in the paper like a fundamental tool that need to be diffused and incremented within the specific competences of teachers that mean to use them.
As just mentioned above the paper consider the involvement of ICT in the education, an in the specific case in the science education, a central element able to attract the attention of the students on chemistry and the other science related subjects.
The article speaks about the need for the teachers to develop specific competences connected to ICT but doesn’t mention in detail which are these competences.

Date: 2013.06.10

Posted by Valter Bennucci (Italy)

Message: This paper presents an overview of teacher´s training in Portugal concerning initial teacher training (ITE), specialized training and in-service teacher training, as considered by the Portuguese legislation. A special emphasis was given to training in information and communication technologies (ICT) and to teaching of experimental sciences for primary school. Moreover, chemistry teacher’s training was contextualized in this scenario. Presently ITE corresponds to level 7 of the European Qualifications Framework (master degree). It is a career-long professional development, where research-based and in context practice are important features. Nevertheless the implicit valorisation of the teaching career arising from Bologna process implementation, a master degree is needed for all teaching levels; a lack of motivation to pursue teaching careers is generally noticed in Portugal as a consequence of the actual context of a surplus and unemployment among the new teachers. Following ITE, in-service training allows teachers to complement, deepen and update their knowledge and professional competences. This is an important measure for in-service long date teachers’ and particularly relevant for the ones that, following teacher career reorganization, had to readapt to new curricula and even new teaching subjects.
In what concerns chemistry teachers, the formation pattern corresponds to a subject oriented first cycle followed by a second cycle (master) mainly focussed on professional qualifications. The second cycle entitled “Education in Physical-chemistry Sciences” (2 years, 120 ECTS) aims to qualify teachers, both in physics and chemistry sciences, to teach basic (3th cycle) and secondary education levels .To access this second cycle the applicants need to have 120 ECTS in the two subject areas (physics and chemistry) including no less than 50 ECTS in each of them. Examples of the first cycle could be Chemistry, Physical-Chemistry Sciences and Biochemistry, among others. This second cycle will provide training in physics and chemistry didactics, as well as, in educational psychology.
One of the positive aspects arising from the Bologna process implementation seems to be the valorisation of the teachers’ socio-professional status based on the assumption of a higher professional qualifications (master degree), a curriculum driven to learning outcomes, and the valorisation of teacher practice. Neverthless, in a socio-economical context, the teaching profession in Portugal is nowadays characterized by a surplus and unemployment among the new teachers. As a consequence, recruiting of student teachers in ITE programmes is becoming difficult and a lack of motivation to pursue teaching careers is generally noticed.
One of the main activities of the project is “to provide school teachers with existing resources and materials (particularly online sources) to teach Chemistry in a more innovative, attractive and interactive approach, focusing on the exploitation of ICT and the valorisation of enquiry based methods and solutions”. Therefore, it is very important to know the actual situation in Portugal relatively to the use of ICT in education, including the teachers’ training in the ICT area.
An important study was published in 2003, concerning the use of ICT by Portuguese teachers at all levels with the exception of higher education. The following main conclusions were drawn by the authors:
· The majority of the Portuguese teachers own a computer and use it in teaching related activities (prepare classes, worksheets, tests, internet searches, etc.). Nevertheless, its use in direct interaction with students was found more limited. This was found particularly valid for primary school teachers;
· Self-training and courses promoted by the Ministry of Education were generally adopted/attended by the Portuguese teachers;
· Internet, and particularly email, was more used by 3rd cycle and high school teachers. Young male teachers were the main users;
· Portuguese teachers, without distinction of age and levels taught, need and wish to have training in ICT applications. They generally have more positive than negative attitudes towards ICT. However, many female teachers show negative attitudes.
· Two main obstacles were refered for integrating ICT in schools: the lack of technical means and human resources.
A long way was crossed since 2003. Following, a strong investment is being carried out by the Ministry of Education, according to the Portuguese Technological Plan for Education, approved in September 2007, encompassing several objectives:
Provide technological infrastructures to schools; Make available online contents and services; Promote the ICT skills of the schools’ community.

Date: 2013.06.10

Posted by Nadia Zamboni (Italy)

Message: The importance of the document is linked to interesting information on teacher training in Portugal from initial training to continuous training in-service. Relevant point is also the reference to the role of ICT in the teaching process and the construction of basic competences in science at the primary school.
Training becomes a prerequisite for teachers’ qualification and to enhance students’ outcomes; it should be the result of integration between initial training and training in-service. In this perspective, the article presents an overview of the three different levels of training required by Portuguese law, initial training, specialized training, in-service training, with particular reference to the training of chemistry teachers through a scenario within technologies and processes of contextualization of contents.
The document deals with teachers education to train, in particular, teachers of chemistry who have to follow, a first cycle of studies of 3 years followed by a second cycle (Master) focused on a more specific qualification in chemical and physical sciences, in which they will get training in physics and chemistry didactics, as well as, in educational psychology. This kind of training, according with Bologna process implementation, highlights a deeper professional qualification to chemistry teacher s, focused on a curriculum driven to learning outcomes and teacher practice.
Afterwards , in-service training or continuous training supports teachers to deep and update their professional knowledge and competences; the training actions can be selected by the school according to the needs of the teachers and have direct impact on their career progression. Sometimes the training action can be a result from the individual initiative of the teacher.
The article does not mention directly new approaches or teaching methods suitable in chemistry, but refers to an ambitious program launched in Portugal for training primary teachers in teaching Sciences . The training plan that involved more than 5,000 teachers and 150,000 students has produced a big amount of documents available on the Web
In this area were also produced many educational resources including a teaching guide for teachers and a notebook for students to register observations. In the following list some of the themes proposed:
 Exploring floating liquids ...
 Exploring ... Dissolutions in liquids
 Exploring ... Physical changes of states
 Exploring Sustainability in the Earth ...
This project seems similar to that developed in Italy with the training plan ISS 'Insegnare scienze sperimentali’ which has produced documents downloadable from the network. It might be interesting to make some comparisons between the materials produced in each countries, assessing validity and effectiveness in terms of teaching approaches and learning processes.
The authors emphasize the importance of ICT in teaching; according to their opinions,, training courses have to provide to the teachers skills and tools in technology to teach chemistry in an innovative, interactive and effective way, through enquired-based learning methodology.
At the moment, from the reports emerge that Portuguese teachers mainly use technology to prepare lessons and only few of them can use ICT interactively with the students; so it emerges a strong demand for training to learn how to use the resources in an interactive and effective way; a further research (2011) also points out that the effectiveness of the use of ICT in the classroom is strongly tied to 'self-esteem’ and confidence that the teacher places on its technological expertise, as well as the conviction of the validity of their use in teaching.

Date: 2013.06.05

Posted by Katarína Javorová (Slovakia)

Message: The paper is information about special and in-service teacher training in Portugal.
Describe in detail the initial teacher training (ITT) as considered by Portuguese legislation and -includes two cycles for class teachers and subject teachers. Basically two projects are described: teaching experimental science for primary school, and teacher training in information and communication technologies (ICT). Very interesting for me is master degree required on this initial training. In this way teachers (chemistry teachers as well) are provided with deep subject knowledge and professional qualification including research-based level. This initial education of chemistry teachers is at the master level is consecutive, with a first cycle in chemistry, physical-chemistry sciences or biochemistry, e.g. The second cycle (2 years) is centred on professional qualifications (didactics, education sciences, psychology).The process of initial training is a very good example of strict and clear requirements of teacher training. These requirements are standardized by the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), which provides opportunities for students’ mobility. About in-service teacher training, the authors give as an example the Portuguese National Training Program in Teaching of Experimental Sciences for Primary School Teachers, developed between 2006 and 2010. They highlight its huge impact and propose it as an important source of information for the development of similar programs in other countries.
Very interesting and important is in the paper points out the relation “ICT – teacher training”. Conclusions of national and international researches are described in brief. Two important factors with a special focus on the Portuguese context are emphasized: schools’ ICT infrastructure and the importance of a well-trained teacher in ICT.

Date: 2013.05.31

Posted by Katerina Paschalidou (Greece)

Message: This paper describes the system of teacher training in Portugal, following the Bologna process. Teachers’ training, according to the Portuguese legislation is being developed in the following categories: (1) Initial training, (2) Specialized training and (3) In-service training. The initial teacher training includes a first cycle of 3 years training and a second cycle of 1-2 years (master level). Especially for chemistry teachers the first cycle could be Chemistry, Physical-Chemistry Sciences and Biochemistry or others. The second cycle (master level) will offer training in Physics and Chemistry didactics and educational psychology. The Specialized Teacher Training aims to qualify teachers in complementary educational functions i.e. special education, administration and inspection activities in schools, basic education for adults. This seems to be very important since it is focusing on the development of the education system. The In-service training is very important since it helps teachers improve and continue their training. This program is linked with the schools, since they decide the training actions of their teachers according to the identified needs.
At this paper an important example of teachers’ training for science teaching in primary schools is mentioned. This huge program is supported by several documents such as training plans, training reports, progress reports, etc., unfortunately available only in Portuguese.
Concerning the ICT and Teacher Training, a special emphasis was given (mainly since 2007), according to the Portuguese Technological Plan for Education, on providing technological infrastructures to schools, making available online contents and services and promoting the ICT skills of the schools’ community. According to the Authors the main activities of this project is “to provide school teachers with existing resources and materials to teach Chemistry in a more innovative, attractive and interactive approach”.

Date: 2013.05.24

Posted by Bernard Leyh (Belgium)

Message: This paper by Ferreira et al focusses on the three steps in the training and education of teachers in Portugal, both for the so-called ‘class-teachers’ (primary school, that is, basic education) and for the chemistry teachers: initial training (pre-service), specialized training, and in-service training. In addition, two projects are described: (i) teaching experimental science for primary school, and (ii) teacher training in information and communication technologies (ICT).
Contrary to the situation in some other countries, Ireland for example, unemployment among young teachers is severe, which leads to a decrease of the number of students in initial teacher training programs. The initial education of chemistry teachers is at the master level. It is consecutive, with a first cycle in chemistry, physical-chemistry sciences or biochemistry, e.g. The second cycle (2 years) is centred on professional qualifications (didactics, education sciences, psychology). Four aspects deserve attention: (i) this program aims at qualifying teachers in both chemistry and physics (in other countries like Belgium, the ‘natural’ association is chemistry and biology); (ii) it aims at training teachers for both the end of the basic (primary school) level and the secondary school level: this should, in my eyes, contribute to improve the quality of the science education of primary school pupils; (iii) the curriculum is focussed on learning outcomes; (iv) research-based qualification is emphasized.
Another interesting aspect is the existence of specialized teacher training oriented towards specific complementary tasks (special education, administration, inspection, socio-cultural education, development of the educational system).
The in-service training is mentioned but, unfortunately, its discussion is short and vague. It is coordinated by a scientific and pedagogical council.
A reference (ref. [9], unfortunately in Potuguese language only) provides the final report about an extended project developed between 2006 and 2010, with the aim to train primary school teachers to teach experimental sciences. Didactic resources have been developed. This could be worth consulting for people active in primary school teacher training.
Portugal has also been active in training teachers in the use of ICT, especially with the purpose of fostering enquiry-based methods. This last project can be seen in a European perspective, as illustrated by reference [13] of the paper, which discusses a large-scale European (+ a few non-European countries) survey on the use of ICT in an educational framework. This latter contribution by Wastiau et al is certainly worth reading. The other references are mainly Portugal-specific.

Date: 2013.05.22

Posted by Milena Kirova (Bulgaria)

Message: The paper is informative on initial, specialized and in-service teacher training in Portugal.
The authors describe in detail the initial teacher training (ITT) as considered by Portuguese legislation. Following the Bologna process ITT includes two cycles for class teachers and subject teachers. I would place special emphasis upon the master degree required on this initial training. In this way teachers (chemistry teachers as well) are provided with deep subject knowledge and professional qualification including research-based level.
the paper is also focused on the process of initial training of chemistry teachers. It is a very good example of strict and clear requirements of teacher training. I would underline that these requirements are standardized by the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), which provides opportunities for students’ mobility.
Concerning in-service teacher training, the authors give as an example the Portuguese National Training Program in Teaching of Experimental Sciences for Primary School Teachers, developed between 2006 and 2010. They highlight its huge impact and propose it as an important source of information for the development of similar programs in other countries.
The third focus in the paper points out the relation “ICT – teacher training”. Conclusions of national and international researches are described in brief. Two important factors with a special focus on the Portuguese context are emphasized: (1) schools’ ICT infrastructure; (2) the importance of a well-trained teacher in ICT. In this regard the results of Portuguese schools and students, taught by “digitally confident and supportive teachers”, are above the EU average. However, the paper neither offers information about the Portuguese ICT competency standards for teachers, nor provides any accounts of special chemistry teachers’ training of these skills.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.

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