Higher School of Education and Social Sciences, CI&DEI, Polytechnic of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 9985-9991
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.2410
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
The initial Natural Sciences teachers' training is an extremely relevant way to help future teachers conceptualize Science Education as a promoter of scientific literacy. It is intended to help students develop problem-solving skills, showing an active and responsible attitude and ability to make informed decisions. The initial Natural Sciences teachers' training aims to promote the professional development of future teachers, based largely on the curricular components of Didactics and Pedagogical Practice.

At an early stage of training in Didactics, it is important to identify and understand the perceptions of future teachers about Science teaching and learning processes and the training needs they identify in order to promote better practice.

This study was conducted in a public higher education institution, in an initial training course for elementary school teachers, and sought to identify, understand and analyze the perceptions of future Natural Sciences teachers about the importance they assign to science learning, as well as their degree of confidence in the pedagogical practices implemented. Considering this purpose, the study is qualitative and interpretative. To this end, a questionnaire survey was applied to 6 students, future teachers, attending the Professional Master's Degree.

The questionnaire contained three open questions about the Natural Sciences teaching and learning processes, namely:
i) the importance they recognize in Natural Sciences learning;
ii) how they feel as Natural Sciences teachers; and
iii) aspects they would like to deepen in order to feel more secure in their teaching practice. The questionnaire also contained a closed question about their confidence degree in the implementation of didactic and pedagogical practices in Natural Sciences, during the Pedagogical Practice.

Based on the answers obtained, a statistical analysis of the closed question was resorted and also a content analysis of the open questions, according to the categories that emerged from their reading.

The results suggest that future teachers recognize the importance of Natural Sciences in the 2nd cycle of basic education (students aged between 10 and 12) because this subject allows the development of learning related to the natural world and its preservation. They also recognize the potential of Science for understanding everyday phenomena, contributing to the development of more responsible, reflective and aware future citizens.

With regard to how they felt as future teachers of Natural Sciences, perceptions showed confidence, enthusiasm and professional achievement. Although most of the future teachers (66.7%) considered themselves confident, there were some feelings that revealed insecurity when faced with the challenge that the students' curiosity and the diversity of concepts require from the teacher's preparation. The future teachers considered that, in order to feel more confident, they should deepen strategies related to guiding students to discover, investigate, and explore scientific concepts through active methodologies; assessment practices of and for science learning; and promotion of inquiring and management of student interventions.
Initial Teachers Training, Natural Sciences, Teaching and Learning processes, Perceptions, Pedagogical Practice.