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INDIRE Institute
INDIRE Institute
Project Publication
School Directors, Researchers, Teachers
Over 10 pages
The paper is the presentation of the national program ‘PON Science Education’, which is part of a larger program dedicated to the training of teachers (PON 2007-2013). As part of PON 2007-2013 were launched four specific programs: PON Linguistics Education, PON Languages, Literature and Culture in a European dimension, PON [email protected] and PON Science Education. These courses are addressed to teachers of Italian, Foreign Languages, Science and Math and aim to influence the way to do school, inviting teachers to experience new contents, new methods and new teaching approaches with their students, by proposing a model that directly involves the complex skills of the teacher.PON Science Education was created as a consequence of international studies (TIMSS and PISA), which highlighted the need to counter the drop in performance also present in the lower secondary school for what concerns the scientific literacy. The project is based on the model of the IBSE (Inquiry Based Science Education). In fact, the teaching of science cannot ignore the importance of the experimental observation, followed by investigation done by students with the support of the teacher, and the planning of experimental activities, followed by data analysis and identification of new applications for investigation.
The main objective of PON Science Education is to improve the quality of science teaching in order to improve the level of science learning of students.
The project has also some specific objectives:
1. improve the knowledge of science teachers by the deepening of issues transversal to scientific disciplines and vertical with respect to the different school grades.
2. Improve skills of lower secondary science teachers about planning and execution of laboratory activities.
3. Significantly affect the attitude of students towards scientific disciplines and toward the learning process.
4. Stimulate teachers’ attitude towards a professional growth that tends to research-action.
The course consists of 30 hours in presence, in a scientific laboratory, 35 hours of online training and 35 hours of individual design.During the lessons in the teachers are divided into groups, each supervised by a tutor, that perform laboratory activities. The latter activities are intended to be proposed to students afterwards. The same tutor also follows teachers during the lessons on line.
The teachers who attended the training in 2009/2010 have reported positive testimonials on the course about:
• the richness and innovativeness of activities performed (setting up the aquarium at school, light experiments, etc.)
• the immediate continuing involvement of students thanks to the activities proposed, which made them protagonists in the experimental verification of the topics covered.
Italy provides an insufficient training to its teachers, both with regard to initial training, that with regard to in-service training. Teachers often exhibit a good knowledge about their discipline, but often complain of not having good teaching skills, organizational, interpersonal and communication skills. In the light of this situation, the system of teacher education is evolving, but with great difficulty. The document has been selected to present INDIRE, the national body in charge of organizing and managing projects for the training of teachers, with support of the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and thanks to European funding.
INDIRE, National Institute of Documentation for Innovation and Educational Research, has the task of accompanying the evolution of the Italian school system by investing in research, experimentation and innovation. INDIRE training is aimed at teachers, school leaders, ATA staff and students, and pursues professional development, innovation in teaching and improvement of learning. In particular, with regard to teachers, INDIRE aims at improving the performance of teachers in their educational practice, in making school every day, through the provision of innovative solutions both from the methodological point of view, and from the content, methodologies and technologies. The training model is blended, meaning that it integrates activities in presence and activities on-line. It is based on the 'situated knowledge’, in order to accompany teachers from theory to practice, and on the ‘cooperative learning’ through a continuous dialogue between teachers, experts in education and e-tutors, in order to encourages the building of communities of teachers.
University of Genoa

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.06.07

Posted by Divna Brajkovic (HELMo) (Belgium)

Message: This text is interesting because it presents a concrete and innovative action of a national continuing training program for teachers. The aims of this project stress interdisciplinary scientific knowledge, experimental skills and action research.

This kind of training is innovative in so far as it assists teachers before, during and after field experimentation of new methodologies.

Indeed, firstly, thanks to the training teachers can experience real inquiry situations in the laboratory. These sequences that propose new teaching approaches are directly transposable in the class with the students. This first, very concrete, step is interesting because in continuing training teachers seek examples they can use directly in class. Moreover, the recommended IBSE model (inquiry-based science education) is indispensable to really build science learning. However, this model is little carried out in the field.

The other interesting aspect of this training is the assistance to teachers when they use in class the sequences experimented in training.
Finally, the reflexive axis leading to “action research” is in my opinion an essential element for teachers’ professional development.

Indeed, thanks to the a posteriori reflexive analysis of activities conducted with students, the teacher can refine those learning sequences. Teachers are not trained well enough to this kind of analysis (methodology analysis carried out, difficulties encountered by students….). It would be very interesting to free teachers from part of their task so they can train to action research. This distance would be enriching for teachers.

Personally, I work with a group of field teachers to build innovative learning sequences. These are then tested in the field in different school contexts. During meetings, confronting points of view makes it possible to prompt a reflexive perspective on field experimentation. In this way, these constructive exchanges help us improve the sequences.

Therefore, this idea of “cooperative learning” (continuous dialogue between teachers, education experts and e-tutors) developed in the article seems to me crucial to the continuous professional development of teachers.

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.