New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Importance Given by Portuguese Science Teachers to Outdoor Activities

Valter Rato, Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudos Educacionais (Portugal)

António Almeida, Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa / Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudos Educacionais (Portugal)

Abstract

This study aimed to verify how teachers of Science and Maths of the 2nd cycle of schooling in Portugal (5th and 6th grade) value outdoor activities in their teaching practice. To this end, a questionnaire with open and closed questions, validated by three experts in Didactics of Science, was sent to 20 schools in the Lisbon area (random choice), knowing that each one included at least 5 teachers of this disciplinary group.
The questionnaire inquired about the frequency of these activities per year, the degree of satisfaction with this frequency, the identification of obstacles, advantages and disadvantages associated with them, and the identification of one successful and one unsuccessful visit with the identification of the reasons for that assessment.
Fifty-four teachers answered the questionnaire, which corresponds to a response rate of near 50%. However, only 39 (72%) of the teachers stated that they usually do outdoor activities, once or twice a year, a frequency that the majority considered to be adequate. The obstacles mentioned to the achievement of these activities were the cost of travelling, the bureaucracy process in schools and the need to finish the syllabus. They indicated as advantages the increase of motivation of the pupils, the improvement of teacher-student relationship and the contact with new realities. The disadvantages were in part similar to the obstacles mentioned above, but the teachers also stressed the lack of recognition of the students that they were in a formal learning activity and the fatigue and the anxiety felt due to the wish that everything runs well.
In the identification of a successful visit, the teachers emphasized the interesting features of some places and the adequacy of the visit for the pupils' age, which indicates some lack of previous knowledge about the visited places. In the identification of an unsuccessful visit, they mainly pointed out the (bad) behavior of the pupils or the (bad) guidance of the guides.
The results allow a better understanding of how teachers value outdoor activities and suggest several aspects to be contemplated in teacher training courses for a better understanding of the potential of outdoor activities.

Keywords: Outdoor activities, Teaching Practice, Science Education;

References

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