Good Practices: Teacher Training Materials

Inquiring a socially acute question and contemporary stakes in biology education

The Lyon TPD program adoptes a model of teachers as learners, designers and reflective practitioners. The goal of the course – “Biology‐Geology and contemporary challenges”- is to introduce and familiarize pre-service teachers with the démarche d’enquête, which is the French translation of SSIBL approach. Pre-service teachers collaboratively experiment a pedagogical scenario inspired by “Islets of interdisciplinary rationality” (Fourez, 1998) using the approach of an open inquiry developed about open-ended, acute, and complex socio-scientific issues. The interest of such approach is in the experience lived by the students of a proactive exploration in which the process is more important than the result.
Preparation of a mind map of the controversy
Mind map of the controversy
Mind map of the controversy

The TPD course is composed of four steps.

In a first one, the SSIBL approach is presented in connection with characteristics of Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) /Socially Acute Questions (SAQ) and completed with presentation of the Socio-scientific and Sustainability Reasoning Model (Morin, 2013).

In a second step, pre-service teachers experiment, as learners, one démarche d’enquête inspired by Islets of interdisciplinary rationality (Fourez, 1998). During the two rounds of TPD, it is the responsibility of the course participants to choose the questions and aspects they want to highlight, without being provided by teacher-trainers of any specific tracks to follow. The thematic guidance is limited to a short presentation of a controversial issue through some newspaper articles: the first round deals with a project of biogas factory near Lyon, and the second round with a project of wind farm in a natural reserve near Lyon. Pre-service teachers collectively construct a proposition of political action to be published on the web.

The third step of the course is a collective reflection about didactic transpositions, and construction of criteria to analyze implementation in classrooms.

The final step is the reflexive analyze of selected implementations that are observed in internship classrooms. These TPDs is based on 29 hours of Face-to-Face, 4 hours of e‐learning and work in autonomy, and a day of outdoor session in the field to meet the stakeholders of the controversy.

The TPD courses addresses seven main objectives, as follows:

  • Understand the essential aspects of the SSIBL framework and be able to discern and explain the differences of this approach (in which the process is more important than the result) as compared to other pedagogical approaches
  • Understand the nature of SSI/SAQ in particular open-ended, complex and uncertain questions
  • Understand the educational stakes of the démarche d’enquête, as a proactive and not retroactive approach in which the exploration of acceptable future is scientifically and socially grasped
  • Understand how to integrate SSIBL approach within educational curriculum that develop interdisciplinary approaches
  • Identify science modules from their national curriculum, which can be adapted according to the SSIBL framework
  • Develop (and implement) SSIBL-based activities (cartography, media analysis, integration out-of-school stakeholders, on-line & face-to-face interactions, etc.) in their science classrooms
  • Be part of a learning community and identify areas for further professional development considering skills and deontological position in relation to teaching based on SSIBL.

We focus the evaluations of these TPDs on i) the comprehension of the démarche d’enquête (Educational stakes, Pedagogical Strategy, Aimed skills), ii) the tangibility of the démarche d'enquête for the teachers as a different approach compared to the more classical scientific inquiry approach, iii) the potential of the TPD to enhance the willpower to implement such demarche in the classrooms, and iiii) the perception of course participants of the skills they have built to pilot such classrooms activities.

To evaluate these elements, we collect data:

  • by analysing the deepening of reasoning and quality of argumentation of the teams’ productions,
  • with the testimony of teacher trainers about the involvement of course participants in the demarche d’enquête,
  • through collective oral debriefing with course participants of round 1 and 2,
  • through the responses of participants at a questionnaire after the round 2.

European Commission

PARRISE (grant agreement 612438) is a four year programme (2014-2017) funded by the European Commission.

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