A. António1, J. Salgado2, M.E. Ferreira2, C.S. Reis2

1UDI - Research Unit for Inland Development (PORTUGAL)
2Polytechnic Institute of Guarda (PORTUGAL)
Theoretical Background:
An inclusive education should consider the restructuring of culture, politics and practices of schools in a way to create an environment that responds to students’ diversity (Reis, 2010). This restructuring is intended to increase the scientific culture of students by providing them the tools to succeed in a global society.
Literature points out that scientific education must start at pre-school in order to empower students’ full citizenship. In fact, the development of scientific literacy (SL) should be undertaken in various dimensions and independently of the contexts were students live and are raised.
The Guarda District is characterised by a high degree isolated schools, where students face a general feeble educational stimulation and, particularly, in SC a rather low input. We need to develop educational projects based on inclusion for promoting equality regarding students’ access to scientific culture. Our previous study (Reis, 2010) shows that pre and primary teachers (PPT) present a positive perception about the existence of an overall inclusive culture, which is essential for personal, professional and social sucess.The purpose of this research is to analyse Guarda Disctric PPT attitudes and practices, concerning science teaching.

Research Methods:
We analyzed PPT’ perceptions, regarding two dimensions: a) SL b) science attitudes and practices (SAP). To analysed SL we used an adjustment of Eurobarometer 340. For SAP we adapted the Protocol's Attitudes towards Science. In the SL instrument we collected the most and less valuable questions and the most and less important aspects referred. For the SAP instrument we collected the most and less valuable questions regarding general attitudes and practices. PPT inputs were, then, summed up, averaged and gathered in five categories (themes of interest, information from media, involvement with S&T degree of agreement with scientists and with science) for the first instrument and in two categories for the second one (general attitudes and practices).

Findings and Conclusions:
Concerning the SL: the most and the less valuable themes of interest were ambiental questions (81%) and political news (4%); 89% agree that science should be allowed to use animals in experiments and 15% considers that S&T can solve any problems.

Concerning the SAP: about general attitudes, 90% agrees that curiosity is essential in science; about practices, 95% indicates search for information as a most used aspect and 60% indicates Magalhães® computer (computer introduced for primary students 5 years ago) as a less used aspect.

This study shows that there is a gap between what PPT think and what PPT do at school regarding S&T. The need to develop and improve SAP in Guarda District schools is fundamental to get better prepared students to face the complexities of our times society. PPT have the means but, mostly, they are not being assertive in doing what they believe. This project will continue with the development of a set of science activities in the context of the classroom that seek to increase assertiveness of teachers in science teaching.

Martins I. (2009). Despertar para a Ciência. Actividades dos 3 aos 6. 1ª. Ed. Lisboa: DGIDC-Ministério da Educação.
Reis, C. et al (2010).The Inclusive culture in Guarda’s County: Teachers’ perceptions and practices. International Conference on New Horizons in Education – 2010 Proceedings Book, Famagusta, pp. 818-823.