July 9, 2020

Scientists blame the suspension of the PISA report on the poor teaching specialization in Primary | Science

Spain suspends in Mathematics and Science with notes similar to Hungary and Lithuania. The report published this Tuesday by the OECD collects the results of 32 million teenagers around the world and places the country below the international average. Though Madrid thinks that “everything is contaminated" the Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain (COSCE), which represents 82 scientific societies and 40,000 scientists, locates the problem in the absence of scientific training in the primary school and in the lack of specialization of the teaching staff that leads to a clear disinterest of the students.

We have to furnish children's heads from the beginning and thus improve the scientific culture in general and that of primary school teachers in particular.

Scientists say that a practical approach to teaching is necessary, but it is also essential that students, at an early age, acquire the necessary skills in emerging technologies to be competitive in the labor market of the future. For this, the institution has created the ACIERTAS project (Learning Science by Inquiry in Collaborative Transversal Networks) to raise the low level of scientific culture of Spanish students and offer teachers new teaching resources.

Paloma Fernández, spokesperson for ACIERTAS project of the COSCE, insists that improving primary education is the key. According to him, the teaching staff is not qualified enough and, in addition, they are afraid of science. "We don't have a good teacher training compared to other countries," he explains. "Many teachers are not experts in the field and, due to the lack of specialization, a strong disinterest of the students is born when they reach 4th of the ESO", he develops.

Another possible culprit of this suspense of the PISA report denounced by the scientific community is the rigidity of the Spanish programs. "If we look in Finland, they encourage discovery and innovation and set their standards very high. We would have to take an example," Fernandez adds. Therefore, you have to go further and see what is happening from the origin. "We have to furnish children's heads from the beginning and thus improve the scientific culture in general and that of primary school teachers in particular," insists the expert. As he reiterates, it is essential to review the teaching scenarios and access of teachers, modernize the schemes and bet on innovation.

It is essential to review the teaching scenarios and teacher access, modernize the schemes and bet on innovation

Waiting for this to happen and to alleviate the problem, COSCE promotes a network of primary school teachers that facilitates the introduction of the most current sciences in their classrooms and It offers resources in areas such as molecular biology, robotics or virtual reality. The initiative was born this year because of the concern of the scientific community for the low social perception of science and the low level of scientific culture. The head of the COSCE, Rodríguez Espinosa, still points out that teachers are doing "extraordinary activities" to solve this lack despite the fact that "sometimes they have very limited resources."

Fernández's project gives access to experts and scientific resources and makes it easier for science and math teachers to share scientific resources and Experiences lived in classrooms. The main objective is to highlight the innovative potential of the classes with a general collaboration in small groups and through a digital social network. The initiative is funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and it is based on a collaborative network of more than 400 teachers from all over Spain.

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