The Education area has witnessed and carried out a sudden change in its modus operandi: on the one hand, it saw Distance Education change the course of higher education in Brazil, with thousands of students seeing in the modality a viable alternative for their formation, linked to a market expansion that is growing exponentially. On the other hand, the area resists bravely the implementation of technologies of the teaching-learning process, with a discourse that distorts practice. In the midst of all this, an industry eager to sell technological devices and win more and more students undermines the area, offering solutions to nonexistent problems that only frustrates learners and educators.
While the clash between discourse and practice is consolidated in education,
we have lost the possibility of advancing and setting pressing discussions for the rickety Brazilian education. In a survey conducted by the British consultancy Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Brazil ranked second among 40 countries. In gritty lands, the IRDEB index is alarming, although we have become accustomed to averages of disapproval, stamped in the entrances of schools and in the departments of Education. Discussing the teaching-learning process seems to be obsolete, since educational culture, based on a copyist model, does not find a better method for copying, nor does it have criticality, common sense and competence to seek solutions to its own problems. Before untying the knot in which we find ourselves, it is more convenient to blame or cling to such magical solutions to distribute computers, to place an interactive whiteboard in the classroom, or to place a camera to identify students who arrive or leave school.
The more modern notions of education point to some key issues, which in themselves would change the perspective of learning. These discussions unfortunately go beyond the themes debated by the area, in its congresses and the like. Let’s look at some points of interest.
One does not learn to do, in the outdated conception of which the school prepares for the life, although professional. School is life, and we learn by doing, changing the reality that surrounds us. The stages are a small sample of how the insertion in the productive universe, throughout the formation, results in improvement of quality. While some institutions want to bring the students to their classrooms, others want to show the world to students, seeking to solve real problems, as it happens in several foreign institutions that provoke their students in humanitarian and social actions.
Classroom is a concept, not a local. This thought implies, although there is no synonymy, with the peripatetic school of Aristotle. If in Greece the method included walking, the modern notion of the classroom implies that every place is capable of being a space for learning. Rather than bringing the student to school, the option of taking the student to the world has proved more effective, with better involvement of the learner in his own learning.
The city is a great laboratory. If in the 1990s the schools ran to have their laboratories, and shortly after they did not know what to do with them, we now know that the city is a great laboratory capable of providing the structure and pedagogical resources for various activities.
The teacher is not in control, never, in fact, was. Classroom presentism is a problem that unfolds, culminating in school dropout. The lack of meaning not only of what is taught, but of the way it is, is disturbing. The distance that the programmatic content establishes with the student world seems to be similar to the distance that the school establishes with the community, with society. The revision of this reality is pressing.
The use of technological devices should be in line with teaching-learning practices that privilege skills and competencies, taking the world as a perspective of action. Before discussing what technological device to use in the classroom, we will have to discuss, with the necessary criticality, what type of school we want. It is, therefore, to discuss educational technologies.
More than 28 thousand students from the municipal and state networks of Cachoeira do Sul and Santa Maria will benefit from a project to insert technology for pedagogical and management use. It is the Education Gaúcha Conectada project, a partnership between the State Department of Education and the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), which will benefit 73 schools, directly serving 28,000 students and 2,900 teachers. The project launch event will be held this Friday, March 29, in the Hall of Acts of the Santa Maria Marist College (Rua Floriano Peixoto 1217, Centro) in Santa Maria. State Secretary for Education, Faisal Karam, Mayor of Cachoeira do Sul, Sergio Ghignatti, the mayor of Santa Maria, Jorge Pozzobon, the manager of the Department of Education and Culture of BNDES, Conrado Leiras, the Foundation’s Projects coordinator Lemann, Daniela Caldeirinha, Training Specialist at Fundação Itaú Social, Cláudia Petri and the director-president of the Innovation Center for Brazilian Education (CIEB), Lúcia Dellagnelo.
The project Education Gaúcha Conectada, with investments of R $ 3.1 million, aims to qualify the process of building students’ knowledge, based on methodologies that privilege the use of technologies in the pedagogical process. “These are investments that will help us to work with real situations we face, such as school dropout, student approval, age-grade distortion, among others,” explains Karam. According to Leiras, the project is part of a BNDES initiative that consists of supporting projects of states and municipalities in different regions of the country and should contribute to accelerate the implementation of the MEC’s Connected Education Innovation Program.
The deadline for the complete implementation of the project is December 2020. Until then, four dimensions will be worked out. With the teachers, the proposal is to promote public policies that provide the integration of digital information and communication technologies in the practices, in line with the Gaúcha Curriculum Base; training and instrumentalization to carry out pedagogical activities that encourage a methodological change, encouraging the construction of knowledge and the protagonism of the students; acquisition of mobile devices (notebooks), educational robotics kits and specific furniture that can be used in classrooms and other learning spaces. The Program has support from the Lemann Foundation and Itaú Social, and technical support from the CIEB.
The fact that science education must be an integral part of curricula from the earliest years of primary education is known to all and is expressed in the National Education and Guidelines Law – LDBEN of December 20, 1996 – Law N. 9394/96. According to what is presented in article 26, first paragraph, it is stated that: “The curricula to which the caput refers must necessarily include the study of Portuguese language and mathematics, knowledge of the physical and natural world and social reality and “The National Curricular Parameters – PCNs, for this level of schooling, in turn, emphasize the importance of teaching science from the initial stages of schooling by mentioning that” [t] he is not just about to teach to read and to write so that the students can learn Sciences, but also to make use of Sciences so that the students can learn to read and to write “(BRASIL, 1997).
However, the defense by this teaching does not represent something new in the country, being able to be identified in the speech of Rui Barbosa at the end of century XIX. Under the influence of the positivist school, it infers the inclusion in basic education of fundamental science content (Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Sociology), as a way of leveraging the formation of scientists and to bring science closer to young people (ROSA, ROSA, 2012).
As a result of this legal necessity, referring to the presence of science content in the initial years, many problems have been presented to those who should operationalize this teaching in the school context. Regarding teachers, the studies indicate that their difficulties in addressing these contents have been an obstacle to their consolidation in this stage of schooling, as evidenced by Rosa, Perez and Drum (2007). According to the authors, one of the biggest problems lies in the insecurity of the teacher in relation to the set of knowledge in Sciences. The study, which can be considered as a show in relation to the problem of science teaching in the initial years, is based on the speech of the teachers who work in this stage of schooling, and denotes the fragility of their training process in the area. According to the interviewees, contents such as Physics, for example, are not addressed in the training courses and they end up resorting to the knowledge coming from their training process in basic education to subsidize their classes.
The authors’ conclusions are corroborated by other studies that highlight the difficulties faced by teachers in addressing physics and chemistry contents in the initial years (LORENZETTI, 2000; RAMOS; ROSA, 2008; COLOMBO et al., 2012). This identification points to another aspect that may also be influencing the presence of the contents of science in this level of schooling: do the teachers who work in the initial years consider the presence of these contents important? What are the understandings of these teachers about the need to contemplate such contents?
And, more specifically, the question that is intended to be discussed in this text arises and that is within the scope of the understanding of the teachers of the initial years on the teaching of Sciences as a possibility of scientific literacy: what the teachers’ understanding about scientific literacy and how they think contemplates in her pedagogical practice in science?
The importance of discussing science teaching in the early years, based on the scientific literacy approach, lies in the fact that, as announced in the National Curriculum Parameters – PCNs (1997) for elementary education – cycles 1 and 2, the teaching of Sciences must be geared towards the integral formation of the human being and in this includes its scientific literacy.
The announcement is in line with what has been advocated by authors such as Lorenzetti (2000), Chassot (2000), Carvalho and Sasseron (2008), among others, in inferring the need for science education to focus on issues in society and contribute to the scientific literacy of the subjects.
This identification, embodied in previous research, defines as the main objective of the study to investigate the teachers’ understanding of the initial years on scientific literacy and to map the way they think about it in science classes.
In order to reach the objective of this study and answer the central question, a qualitative and exploratory research based on the analysis of the speech of teachers who work in the initial years is structured. For the analysis of the data, we seek a dialogue with the specialized literature and the understanding of Sasseron and Carvalho (2008) on scientific literacy.