CONTEXTUAL MODEL OF LEARNING IN SCIENCE MUSEUMS – AN EXPERIENCE IN PONTO UFMG ITINERANT MUSEUM
When performing an informal activity of Science communication, such as reading a book, visiting a Science fair or going to a museum, there are necessary and enough situations to share knowledge, information and, consequently, opportunities of teaching and learning. Considering those aspects, Science museums consolidate themselves as informal places of Science communication. In this set, it’s urgently that the museums keep on transforming and updating constantly, due to the dynamism of Science knowledge, so they can be more in tune with contemporary issues that provoke debates inside the community where the visitor is inserted.
Owing to its social role and its commitment with scientific knowledge, it’s necessary to understand the strategies those museums, especially Ponto UFMG Itinerant Museum, use, aiming to reach the learning process mediated by scientific and cultural artifacts that compose the museum exhibit. According with Falk & Dierking (2000), the motivational and emotional cues are extremely relevant to the construction of “new” knowledge. Under that perspective, this paper is oriented by two main questions: Which strategies stand out during the mediation between the visitors and the Ponto UFMG Itinerant Museum exhibit? How can the personal intrinsic motivation influence the way each visitor will relate with the objects and subjects covered in the museum space, therefore influencing the learning?
In the hope of answering the central questions of this research, which can be considered a case-study (Yin, 2001), it was held an investigative work with 15 primary school students, with ages between 10 and 12 years old, that presented learning disability. For two months, several activities and scientific interventions were performed during the after class period, in the Ponto UFMG Itinerant Museum. It was adopted a perspective that enhanced the students/visitors personal contexts. It was analyzed, under the perspective of contextual learning model (Falk & Dierking, 2000), the emotional cues, the specific skills involved in the interaction between the research participants and the scientific and cultural artifacts, the intrinsic motivations that permeate the sociocultural space-time (the curiosity, the expectations) and the self-notion over the learning process.
Our analysis showed not only the importance of the motivational cues during the educational processes held in not-formal spaces of learning, but also the internal mobilization of the subjects mediated by their backgrounds, cultural aspects and emotional values. It was noticed an improvement in the academic performance qualitatively detected as related by the teachers, and quantitatively as proved by the scores in the school tests.