Teachers’ views on integrating socially acute questions (SAQ) into biology classrooms: role of the curriculum and the organizational structure in Québec’s colleges



État de publication: publié

Type de présentation: Poster session 3a - Teaching strategies and teaching environments

Nom de la rencontre: Twelfth conference of European Researchers In Didactics Of Biology (ERIDOB)

Lieu: Zaragoza Université, Espagne

URL: https://eventos.unizar.es/_files/_event/_8746/_editorFiles/file/eridob2018/Abstracts%20Book%20Eridob%202018.pdf

Résumé: Breakthroughs in biotechnology pave the way for new possibilities in the study of life and bioengineering. These new possibilities can generate socially acute questions (SAQ) arousing from debates in the construction of scientific knowledge and notable in the social media (Simmoneaux, 2003). For science educators, it is not always an easy task to address these SAQ in classrooms (Levinson, 2004; Simmoneaux, 2003). Our research aimed to understand how college biology teachers address SAQ in their classrooms and help students construct their critical thinking when facing these issues. We chose a focus group format and used an analysis framework based on an interactionist perspective to identify how teachers collectively consider and approach SAQ. We recruited six biology teachers, forming two focus groups, from four collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel (cégeps or general and vocational colleges) in the province of Québec. In Canada, CÉGEPS are a distinctive feature of the province of Québec education system. With universities, they constitute the province’s higher education system, and the government does not require college teachers to have a degree in education. We analyzed the content of the focus groups’ discussions and found that the participants voiced concerns about the science curriculum and the organizational structure of colleges. In this paper, we present the results. We grouped the issues raised by the participants into three themes: a) the science curriculum; b) the organizational structure; and c) the element of time. As trained biologists, the participants defended the legitimacy of biological contents of the curriculum, they were opened to interdisciplinary approaches, and they expressed the need for training in pedagogy. We think college teachers could benefit from a continuing education where SAQ related to the study of life are addressed and integrated as part of teaching practices. While there seems to be a general agreement that science education needs to move forward, there is an ongoing debate about the goals it should pursue concerning both the epistemological postures to be adopted and the type of training required by science teachers.