New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Non-formal Science Education Supports Schools in Poland

Urszula Poziomek, Educational Research Institute, No 8, Gorczewska Str. 01-180 Warsaw, Poland (Poland)

Barbara Ostrowska, Educational Research Institute 8, Gorczewska Str. 01-180 Warsaw, Poland (Poland)


Science education in Poland has gone through a lot of curriculum reforms. The outcome of all these changes is Polish pupils’ outstanding performance in international research programmes, for example PISA research. The emphasis on using scientific method in science education that the new core curriculum introduced into school practice resulted in teachers lacking support with doing experiments, observations and measurements during lessons.

Non-formal education centres in Poland have a si­gnificant potential and offer a variety of extra activities for groups of students supervised by a teacher. The centres’ educational activities are not subject to regulations of the official system of education as are the schools.

Science Section of the Educational Research Institute (IBE) has conducted a research study Best practices in non-formal science education. Survey of the offer of science activities. The main objective of the research was to determine how the offer of science activities addressed by centres of non-formal education to groups of students supervised by teachers may contribute to promote and develop scientific reasoning, a skill described in the science core curriculum. The study was conducted in 348 centres (the first stage) and 50 centres (second stage, in-depth study). The result of the study has created a national database of centres of non-formal education. They offer support for teachers in implementing solutions required by the science core curriculum into their teaching  and they promote examples of good practices in this area.

The majority of centres that took part in the research run activities by applying methods of scientific reasoning in groups, activate and motivate students. The classes develop the students’ research skills as well as their social skills, including communication and self-presentation techniques. This way, activities promote the implementation of core curriculum requirements.

On the basis of the study results the report has been published ( and the national database of non-formal science education in the form of interactive map has been created ( Additionally, there have been also prepared: the recommendations for science non-formal education centres in the area of support for schools in implementing the science core curriculum and the guidebook for science education teachers.

Contacts made during the research resulted in cooperation between Science Section of the IBE and the Ministry of the Environment in terms of defining the standards for assessment in educational programmes in which the non-formal education centres apply for grants.  The partnership between the IBE and National Parks and other non-formal science education centres is another outcome of the research and enables to share the educational experience and promote positive practice.

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