Analysing activities in the Portuguese secondary schools’ Science Learning Studios
Fernandes, João Pedro Soares
active learning | learning spaces, school science laboratories, activity theory, secondary education, active learning, school building and architecture | activity theory | school Science laboratories | secondary education | :Ciências Sociais::Ciências da Educação [Domínio/Área Científica] | learning spaces | school building and architecture
The plan for the modernisation of the Portuguese secondary schools’ buildings, started in 2007 by Parque Escolar E.P.E, the sixth of this size since the beginning of the XX th century, established a new school building model with a priority intervention in the spaces for Science and Technology. The new model of schools’ Science spaces aims to support a variety of teaching strategies, linking theory and practice, aligning itself with the principles of the reform of secondary education and Science curricula.
Unlike the Anglo-American model of Science learning spaces, formalised in a single laboratory for all classes with daily activities of observation and experimentation, the previous Portuguese model included both regular classrooms for lectures and laboratories for practical work, especially for students in secondary education. This separation of spaces corresponded to a separation of teaching strategies, with the first devoted mainly to instruction and problem solving, and the later to practical work, near its origins in the university model of Science teaching in the nineteenth century. This bipartite model contrasts with the new design, in line with the Learning Studios and classrooms/environments for active learning, a hybrid space to support instruction, practical work and multiple learning programmes.
Taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the modernisation plan, this project proposed to investigate the attitudes and expectations of teachers about the new model of Science learning Studio as well as inquire about the current situation of teaching and learning activities in these new spaces.