ESE de Lisboa - Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 1988-1996
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
An education promoting scientific literacy (SL) that prepares the citizens to a responsible citizenship has persisted as an argument across discussions on curricula design. The ubiquity of science and technology on contemporary societies and the ideological requirement of informed democratic participation led to the identification of relevant categories that drive curriculum reforms towards a humanistic approach of school science. The category ‘Science as culture’ acquires in the current work a major importance: it enlightens the meaning of scientific literacy.
Looking closely to the French term, culture scientifique et tecnologique, turns science simultaneously into a cultural object and product that can be both received and worked at different levels and within several approaches by the individuals and the communities.

On the other hand, nonformal and informal education spaces gain greater importance. Together with the formal school environment these spaces allow for an enrichment and diversification of learning experiences. Examples of nonformal spaces where animators can develop their work may be science museums or botanical gardens; television and internet can be regarded as informal education spaces. Due to the above mentioned impossibility of setting apart the individual or community-based experiences from Science and Technology (S&T), the work in nonformal and informal spaces sets an additional challenge to the preparation of socio-cultural animators. Socio-scientific issues take, at times, heavily relevance within the communities. Pollution, high tension lines, spreading of diseases, food contamination or natural resources conservation are among the socio-scientific issues that often call upon arguments and emotions.
In the context of qualifying programmes on socio-cultural animation (social education and community development) within European Higher Education Area (EHEA) the present study describes the Portuguese framework. The comparison of programmes within Portugal aims to contribute to the discussion on the curriculum design for a socio-cultural animator degree (1st cycle of Bologna process). In particular, this study intends to assess how the formation given complies with enabling animators to work, within multiple scenarios, with communities in situations of socio-scientific relevance. A set of themes, issues and both current and potential fields of action, not described or insufficiently described in literature, is identified and analysed in the perspective of a qualified intervention of animators. One of these examples is thoroughly discussed. Finally, suggestions are made about curriculum reforms in order, if possible, to strongly link the desired qualified intervention with a qualifying formation.
scientific literacy, socio-cultural animation, curriculum design