Good Practices: Teacher Training Materials

Inquiring a socially acute question in biology education

Our guideline is the démarche d’enquête ("socio-scientific inquiry") to explore socially acute questions in the classroom. During the TPD, the teachers’ trainers focus the work on the devices of the démarche d’enquête (mapping of controversies, education to/through media, out-of-school stakeholders, socio-scientific reasoning and debate): the tools provided are adapted in their educational context afterword. The TPD goal is to create in small groups a pedagogical proposition to implement a démarche d’enquête in the classroom related to a specific acute question linked to this global socio-scientific issue: what kind(s) of agriculture to feed the planet?
The Faculty of Education in Montpellier
Cartography: what seeds for the agriculture of tomorrow?
The Faculty of Education in Montpellier
To discover the principles of the démarche d’enquête and be able to organize it in classrooms for students, the best way is to live it. Consequently, the first part of the TPD is dedicated to an inquiry led by the pre-service teachers themselves: in small groups (4/5 persons), they choose a contextualized socially acute question (linked to the global issue “what kind(s) of agriculture to feed the planet?”) and explore it with the help of two devices of the démarche d’enquête. The first one is the cartography of controversy (they mapped their questions). The second one is the meeting with out-of-school stakeholders (they identified, contacted and discussed with stakeholders involved in their questions). After this first phase of inquiry, they are asked to produce as biology teachers a pedagogical scenario describing how and why they could organize such inquiry in their classrooms. The final point of the TPD is the presentation of these pedagogical scenarios by each group and a feedback from the others on that proposal. The interest of this TPD is also to bring some elements answering to problematic questions linked to socio-scientific teaching, as a kind of reflexivity concerning their professional deontology (and specifically the question of the teachers’ neutrality), authenticity of the questions raised, links between knowledge and values, etc.

The TPD courses addresses seven main objectives, as follows:

  • To understand the nature of socio-scientific issues/socially acute questions (open-ended, complex and uncertain questions).
  • To understand the main aspects of the démarche d’enquête ("socio-scientific inquiry") and to be able to discern and to explain the differences of this approach (in which the process is more important than the result) as compared to other pedagogical approaches.
  • To understand the educational stakes of the démarche d’enquête, as a proactive and not retroactive process in which the exploration of an acceptable future is scientifically and socially grasped.
  • To identify science modules from their national curriculum, which can be adapted.
  • To understand how to integrate the démarche d’enquête within interdisciplinary approaches.
  • To develop (and to implement) the démarche d’enquête-based activities (mapping, media analysis, integration out-of-school stakeholders, on-line & face-to-face interactions, etc.) in their classroom.
  • Be part of a learning community and identify areas for further professional development considering skills and deontological (ethical) position.

We focus the evaluation of this TPD 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 approach 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 démarche d’enquête,
  • through collective oral debriefing with course participants,
  • through the participants’ answers to an anonymous questionnaire

European Commission

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

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