by Christina Dias & Maria João Fonseca (University of Porto, Portugal)
Our first TPD course began on September 9th, 2015 with a group of 11 in-service biology/geology teachers. This training course was designed for a total of 25 hours, distributed as follows: 15 hours corresponding to a set of five (face-to-face) classroom sessions and 10 hours of individual, distance learning.
In the first sessions, the participants were acquainted with the PARRISE project and the main features of the SSIBL framework. In the practical component of these face-to-face sessions, the participants worked in groups to develop or adapt activities and resources of their choice based on a SSIBL approach. Subsequently, they had the opportunity to test and improve their laboratory skills through the implementation of two practical activities: “Natural antibiotics: a hands-on activity on garlic’s antibiotic properties“ (Fonseca & Tavares, 2011a) and “The bactericidal effect of sunlight“ (Fonseca & Tavares, 2011b).
Putting it into simple terms, each of these activities has been tailored to encompass, as much as possible, the four components comprised within the SSIBL framework – Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Citizenship Education (CE), Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) and Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE). The use of practical work was one of the strategies used in Portugal with the purpose of empowering the participants to take hold of the educational opportunities and enabled them to feel comfortable to efficiently guide student learning through this innovative approach. All the materials were developed having in mind the central role of students, exploiting every opportunity to discuss the key procedures, potential and limitations of scientific research, and encouraging them to take action while exercising their democratic rights. In spring 2016, all the participants will meet again for a wrap-up session that shall follow the trial and testing of the activities and resources in the classroom.
Fonseca, M.J., & Tavares, F. (2011a). Natural antibiotics: A hands-on activity on garlic’s antibiotic properties. American Biology Teacher, 73 (6), 342-346.
Fonseca, M.J., & Tavares, F. (2011b). The bactericidal effect of sunlight. American Biology Teacher, 73 (9), 548-552.