Franco-Israeli colloquium on “Science Education in Primary and Secondary Schools”

Symposium organized by Michel Cohen-Solal  from 21-23 October, 2001.



Banna Arzi (Center for Science Education, Tel-Aviv, Israël), Jean-Luc Bénéfice (Inspection académique des Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarbes), Michel Cohen-Solal (Académie des sciences, Paris), Avital Darmon (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israël), Jean-Jacques Dupin (IUFM d’Aix-Marseille, Marseille), Bat-Shevа Eylon (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israël), Вегmу Geiger (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israël), Avi Hofstein (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israël), David Jasmin (La MAP, Montrouge), Ludovic Jullien (École normale supérieure, Paris), Bob Lapidot (The Israel Acadеmу of Sciences, Jérusalem, Israël), Pierre Léna (Académie des sciences, Meudon), Renée Louis (Inspection de l’Éducation nationale, La Ferté-Alais), Didier Montarras (Institut Pasteur, Paris), Hagai Netzer (Tel-Aviv University, Israël), Nicolas Poussielgue (INRP – La Main à la pâte, Paris), Rami Rahamimov (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israël), Béatrice Salviat (La Main à la pâte, Montrouge), Jean-Pierre Sarmant (Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, Paris), Dan Sheсhtman (The Technion, Haïfa, Israël), Luli Stern (The Technion, Haifa, Israël), Vinnik Hanna (Ministry of Education, Jérusalem, Israël), Anat Zohar (The Hebrew University,  Јeгusalеm, Israël).


Science education and literacy are undergoing significant change tоday; indееd we are witnessing a renaissance. Instead of learning by rote, children are now learning concepts through « hands-on » observa­tion and deduction. This major change developed rapidly after instiga­tion of La Main et la Pâte® programme by Georges Charpak, Pierre Léna and Yves Quéré with strong support and participation from the French Аcademy of Sciences of the Institut de France. From the start of the pro­gramme the Fondation des Treilles provided generous support. The pro­gramme addresses children in primary schools. Its interest lies in com­paraison with other programmes in other countries, and also other age groups, up to and including secondary school.

The Franco-Israeli Colloquium was designed to examine French expe­rience in primary classes in relation to Israeli experience in secondary schools. The Colloquium was organised following a meeting in Israel between Yves Quéré, Delegate for International Affairs of the Асаdemy of Sciences of France and one of the founding executives of La Main à la Pâte, and Israeli academicians. Pursuing the pattern and practice of bilat­eral colloquia that the Delegation usually organises, two delegations each with a dozen or so members met at the Fondation des Treilles. The wish was expressed that teachers from the Near Eastern region (Palestinians) might also participate. Unfortunately and with regret, this was not pos­sible.

The reader will find below the transcription of debates.

21 October 2001 Secondary School

Formal Presentations: Michel Cohen-Solal, Pierre Léna, Benny Geiger, then round table presentation of all other participants.

Israeli presentation of an overview, of the involvemеnt of the academic institutions to the science education system. Benny Geiger.

Dr Benny Geiger from the Weizmann Institute andas partner in the Amos de Shаlit Centre indicated that in Israel, academic institutions interact with both the Ministry of Education and the school system: ele­mentary school (grades 1-6), junior high (7-9) and high school (10-12). In both elementary and junior high schools, the curriculum is now joint for “science & technology”. Discip1inary specialisation in biology, chem­istry, physics, and several technological subjects takes place only at the high school level (mainly in 11th and 12’h grade). School ends at around the age of 18 with State-unified exams and a diploma similar to the French Baccalauréat.

The system is mainly centralized by the Ministry of Education, super­vised through both disciplinary and comprehensive supervisors. A frame­work agreement between the government (Ministry of Education) and the academic institutions established the Amos de Shalit Science Education Centre, and its responsibility for the production of curricular materials, in service professional development, research on science learn­ing and teaching, etc. Ali 7 universities are involved: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Technion, Ben Gurion University, Bar Ilan University and the Weizmann Institute.

Science Education in Primary and Secondary Schools

Policy issues: national commissions were formed ad hoc by the Мinistry of Education: Harari Commission forSciences and Tеchnology (1990-1992), The Shenhar Commission for Hebraic and Judaic Studies for the Hebrew(Jewish) school system (1991-1994) and the Kremnotzer Commission for Civic Studies aimed at ail students (1995-1996). Other contributions include temporary assignments of university faculty mem­bers as chief scientists of various ministries, members and heads of cur­riculum/subject committees, etc.

Subject committees oversee the various issues associated with each subject taught in the school system/age group. For the sciences and tech­nology these include elementary science and technology, junior high school science and technology, and high school biology, chemistry, physics, geology, technology, SТS, etc. In each committee the contribu­tion of scientists will include: “what is new”, “what is more important”, “what is core knowledge”, “what is dispensable”, and “setting standards”.

French presentation of an оvеrview of the science education system: Pierre Léna.

In France, there are public and private schools, but almost all come under a national framework.

Primary school: 5.4 million children in public school and 0.87 in pri­vate schools including preschool andnursery school (3 years) and pri­mаry school (5 years).

Secondary school: collège (4 years), then 3 possibilities: lycéeA/general (3 years) (250,000 + 69,000), Lycée B/technology (151,000 + 35,000) or Lycée C/professional with a large number of specialities (100,000) [numbers are public + private per yеar]. The programmes are identical for every child in primary school and collège (so-called collège unique), then diverge in the lycée.

Scientific disciplines: primary schools with single, multi-subject, teachers, collège with different teachers for physics-chemistry, life and earth sciences, technology. In the lycée général, the two first subjects con­tinue, while for the technоlogy curriculum a number of sub-disciplines appear, not all of them related to sciences (e.g. social services, health, etc.). For the professional curriculum there are many teachers, directly related to professions.

Teaching qualifications for primary school have been increased in France in the last 10 years: the level required now is baccalauréat + 5 years study, the same level as for the CAPES, CAPET, CAPEPS, CAPLP diplomas for collège. The highest level for teachers is agrégation in lycées and classes préparatoires (special classes with 2 yеars of preparation for the Grandes Écoles). The training of teachers takes place in the “Institut uni­versitaire de formation des maîtres” (IUFM —100 local centers in France, directly connected to universities but independent). In-service training is optional.

Principles of teaching: national program and national examination for pupils, pedagogical freedom, and periodic inspection of teachers. At the end of the collège there is an examination with the delivery of a certificate the Brevet des collèges which has lost its importance, and at the end of the lycée, the Baccalauréat (80% of a given age group is the goal stated by the law, but оnly 60% is сurrently achieved). 

Management and research: on a national level with Minister, national administration, national observation/evaluation system, general inspections by discipline, national programmes committees (curriculum) and on a local level: 26 académies + 4 académies outre-mer. Each aсademy is led by a recteur (director of education). Primary: on a territorial basis (Inspecteur de l’Éducation nationale); secondary: on a establishment + dis­cipline basis.

Uniformity and discrimination: common curriculum in collège (cyсlе 1), positive discrimination in Réseaux d’éducation prioritaires.

Experimental developments and research: probablу more freedom in the private system, role of IUFM+ universities in education sciences, no recent national overview on science and technology education, but Comité national des programmes (CNP): new programs (syllabuses) for Lycéegénéral and collège with a special effort in primary schools with new syllabuses in 1995, redefined in 2002.

Orientation after the Baccalauréat: a/ classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles, which are low in number of students, prestigious but highly selec­tive, b/ universities with highest number of students who have theoreti­cal access with any kind of Baccalauréat, c/ sections de techniciens supérieurs (STS) and Instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT). There is at the pres­ent time a slight decrease in the number of students in sciences (string in Physics): like in Israel, science for ail should be the goal.

La Main à la Pâte: overview. Pierre Léna

La Main à la Pâte program had a real and profound impact after six years of action in primary schools, contrary to the very centralized system of the French education, it is a grass-roots movement, growing from bottom up.

La Main à la Pâte: practice in class. Working with scientific partners. Renée Louis

How I discovered La Main à la Pâte ? Through the Internet network (INRP, Académie des sciences): the idea is to propose science and tech­nology and experimentation before mathematics. And pupils are able to collect what is needed for the projects; therefore thеу are obliged to read and to write for the project, to focus on grammar and vocabulary; thеy use mathematics. Creation, knowledge, culture, communication, group work, competence and creation are the key words for my work with pupils.

In 1998, I was involved for making the book Graines de Sciences 2 (published yearly Editions Le Pommier). The teachers met the scientist specialists in molecular cooking, marine plants, light, physics of the ci-mate, volcanoes, etc.

There are several projects and different scientific partners. Му experi­ence is in the Essonne region, 24 districts, therefore 24 general inspec­tors, 100 “Main à la Pâte” schools (classes), 120 scientific projects, including sciences, water, the forest, natural protected areas, chemistry.

Ovеrview: the plan for renewed teaching of Science and Technology at Primary school. Jean-Pierre Sarmant

Teaching science in French schools before 1995 (before La Main à la Pâte), which was developed in 2% of the schools at that time. In June 2000, the Minister decided that all children in France should benefit from this successful method for of new teaching: in-service training of teach­ers, organisation of committees at national and different regional levels, sharing out money for the purchase of scientific equipment, producing pedagogical guides to help teachers implement the new method.

A new curriculum was enforced in 2001, coherent with La Main à la Pâte. And the core of the curriculum: from questioning to knowledge via experimental investigation, various methods of gaining knowledge, depending on the subject, emphasis on the links between science and lan­guage, experimentation made by the pupils themselves.

Subjeсts and topics: a presentation as unified as possible. Limits: pre­cise but limited knowledge (no molecular, no cellular biology at this level) .

Information technologies: preference given to the observation of the real world, but use of computers for document research and comparison of the results of experiments with established knowledge. Overlapping of experimental and mathematical sciences when justified by its usefulness.

Implementation on a local level. Jean-Luc Вénéficе

My job is to organize schools on a county level in several sectors: per­sonnel management, professional mobility, supporting school and inter­school programs, participating in commissions, classroom implementa­tion programs, relations with the parent’s associations, coaching and motivating inspectors (five in the county), to show them the compensatory renewal of the programs, relations with the political representatives for the buildings, computers, and network.

One daу by chance, I received a phone сall from the ministry inviting me to attend a meeting here at les Treilles, that was 4-5 years ago. Then we began to implement La Main à la Pâte. We now have several part­nerships. We support teachers in the class through a network (training the trainers).

Computers in schools: computer science is not taught in France, but it should be ; in addition most of the schools are computerized (starting with one computer per school, it is now one computer per class), but without an internet connection. The problem is now to obtain the local authorities, support to fund the fees for connection.

Involvement of the scientific community, an example in Seine-Saint Denis. Nicolas Poussielgue

In the Seine-Saint-Denis area, there are 1.4 million pupils, 30 % born abroad, 838 primary schools, 40 % in Zones d’éducation prioritaire (ZEP, area targeted for special help in education). The action of « scientific companions » is particularly useful, engineering students for example. They help teachers identify the scientific concepts related to the pupils’ studies and answer teachers’ scientific queries, but during the class they just listen, watch and take notes. When pupils are in groups, thеу help the teacher and determine if an experiment can be run or not in the class­room, and if it leads to a pertinent conclusion. They help pupils formu­late their ideas, specify what thеу are looking for, compare their results, define experimental conditions, launch new research. They do not replace the teacher but encourage pupils to test a hypothesis even if thеy know it is wrong. They answer carefully if explanation appears too difficult for pupils, e.g. they do not explain chemical reaction, but help pupils and teachers to demystify science.

Science education in primary, schools. Harma Vinik

History: in the late 50’s learning processes, a body of information required memorization. In the late 60’s, there was a discovery/inquiry ­focused curriculum. During the 70’s and 80’s, there was a need for a reform, to enhance a less theoretical and more relevant to everyday life approach.

The new curriculum, in 1988, was innovative in terms of subject mat­ters, contents, relevancy, teacher training/professionalism of teachers and new learning environments, i.e.: laboratories, computerized materials etc. The title of this new curriculum is “Science in a Technological Society”.

In the 90’s, the Harari commission recommended the learning of combined science and technology from kindergarten to 12th grade, except for high-school specialties. In 1999, the new dimensions of integrated topics and emphasis on skills were introduced into the primary school curriculum. The disciplines and the topics that are found in the curricu­lum are re-visited through to k-9th grade. In addition, web sites exist for both students and teachers.

Science education in primary schools: The role of scientists. Chagai Netzer

Science in the Internet era: Internet means an information “boom”, but the medium does not provide a way to sort out the most useful and valid data. The problem in primary school is most severe since students may know more than their teachers although thеу lack tools for critical evaluation of this knowledge. The teacher has the advantage of under­standing real life and of judging what is more useful, correct or of greater impact. Scientists must provide the additional link to the pool of new knowledge and help to determine what part of it should reach the class­room. Scientists are thus mediators of knowledge.

Practical implications: scientists should be involved in teacher training to help transfer the approach of critical evaluation of information to new teachers. They should also help educators contact the relevant govern­ment authorities because of their status in society. In Israel, this is accom­plished by involving scientists as chairs of the professional science еducа- tion committees.

An example of a new topic introduced by scientists into the curricu­lum in Israel is « The earth and the universe ». This is relevant today because of the new discoveries in astronomy, the implication of earth sci­ences on every dау life, and so on. What to teach at every age depends on specific contents and must be re-evaluated every few years.

What to teach today or what will be relevant in 20 years ? We need to identify concepts, not topics. Scientific topics related to humankind are likely to remain valid regardless of exact topics. For example: humans in the universe (astronomy, earth and solar system), human beings and the environment (industry and life sciences), human beings and technology (man and « intelligent machines »), etc.

22 October 2001: Secondary school

Challenges. Jean-Pierre Sarmant

The French collège (age 11 to 15). Compulsory, with no exam before and at the end (the Brevet des collèges is of Little significance).

Collège unique. Programs and timetable : the only option is foreign language. Each teacher teaches one subject (up to 11 teachers for a class) ; thеу have to teach and be present at the collège for 18 hours a week. Science and technology at the collège. Technology is a special: it is non-science connected.

Some problems remain to be solved when, without anу transition, thеу have 11 teachers instead of one teacher.

In the 6th grade (11 – years – old) no teaching for physics and chemistry, though it is required for biology. The unions are against the possibility that a teacher teaches more than one discipline. There is great number of pupils per classroom when practical work is required.

Experimentation in some collèges in France: coordinated teaching of science, e.g. “My river” or “Му pound”, but the teacher do not work together and divide their time; another experiment is connecting science with new technologies and English.

The work of the Comité national des programmes (CNP). Ludovic Jullien

The French curricula are drawn up in a centralized manner: the Minister changes the curricula. Since World War II, we changed the cur­ricula just 3 times, which is a lot for our country. The fact that President Mitterrand asked that 80% of pupils obtain the Baccalauréat also made a big change.

The Comité national des programmes (CNP) nominates a group, a comité technique, with 20 members, teachers, professors, university pro­fessors, unions; it worked hard for one year to draw up the curriculum as a very detailed text. The Président du groupe disciplinaire will present their text to the CNP where non-specialized participants should give their advice. If the curriculum is accepted, the Minister presents it to the Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation, and the Minister makes the decision, even against the advice if he so chooses. It takes two years (the curricu­lum needs to be voted 14 months in advance in order to have the corre­sponding teaching books ready).

The signifiance of the CNP is that it is multi-disciplinary, with ail dis­ciplines represented, with people teaching at every level and representa‑

tives from the civil soсiety. They meet 2 days per month and 7 foreigners will be added to the Conseil in  addition to the 20. But thеу have restric­tions: in a advisory role, the Minister decides the topics to be discussed; the disciplines are defined outside the Conseil, which cannot decide if a discipline will or will not be introduced, and the balance between disci­plines.

They also have to think about the role of the teacher, positive dis­crimination for women, for integration, to write in very simple words for parents in order that thеу know what is required at the end of primary school, collège and lycée.

What are the implications of new scientific horizons in biology and geology for the literacy of students? Béatrice Salviat

I am an expert in biology and geology (in France the same teacher teach life, sciences and earth sciences).

A new curriculum was implemented in 2000 and will span 3 years, alter experimentation in 1999. New topics are introduced.

Béatrice Salviat gave examples: homeotic genes, modelisation of mol­ecules, knowledge of solar system, human evolution. The consequences of introducing new topics poses problems, it is a process of didactic trans­position to the pupils: too much attraction, too much to assimilate; and to the teacher also because he has to separate scientific knowledge and dogma.

Нigher-order thinking in science classrooms: principles and implications for instruction. Anat Zohar

The main goal of this presentation is to examine the introduction of teaching practices that highlight higher-order thinking and understand­ing in science classrooms. A survey was conducted within the context of the Thinking Science Classroom (TSC) project whose goal is to teach higher-order thinking as part of routine science learning.

Although learning in the Thinking Science Classroom project is embedded in rich conceptual frameworks, the thinking principles (also referred to as thinking skills or strategies) are made explicit and become a focused goal of instruction and thus a common target of classroom discourse. In effect, the Thinking Science Classroom project supplements the regular science curriculum with learning activities designed to foster higher-order thinking and scientific argumentation. Varied types of learning activities were designed: learning activities that follow lab experiments; invitations to inquiry; critical assessment of newspaper clips; investigation of microworlds; argumentation in genetics; and open­-ended inquiry learning activities.

Evaluation studies of the Thinking Science Classroom project showed:

  1. gains in students’ reasoning abilities
  2. gains in students’ scientific knowledge
  3. that higher-order thinking is an appropriate educational goal for ail students, low as well as high achieving students
  4. that teaching for thinking and understanding mау contribute to diminishing gender gaps that exist in some science

А crucial element in implementing an innovative project such as the Thinking Science Classroom project is teachers’ knowledge and beliefs. Without proper treatment of teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, teachers mау distort the meaning of an innovative project by using inappropriate pedagogical means during implementation. A study was therefore con- ducted to identify crucial issues in teachers’ knowledge regarding the implementation of a project whose goal is to foster students’ higher-order thinking.

The study was conducted within professional development courses that took place as part of the implementation of the Thinking Science Classroom project. Several key elements of pedagogical knowledge that are necessary for the teaching of higher-order thinking were identified:

  1. metacognitive knowledge of higher-order thinking — the findings show that teachers’ metacognitive knowledge is inappropriate for the purpose of teaching higher-order thinking. Therefore, professional development courses must address this issue
  2. teachers’ beliefs about low-achieving students and higher-order think­ing: many of the teachers that were interviewed (45%) believed that higher-order thinking is inappropriate for low-achieving students. Rather, they believed that these students should be taught by a transmis­sion of knowledge approach. Thus, low-achieving students mау chronically experience lower-order instructional emphasis because educators view these students as “stick” at an early phase of the learning process. This belief has serious educational implications because it mау become a self-fulfilling prophecy, depriving low-achieving students precisely of the higher-order thinking learning activities that many of them need so much in order to overcome the underprivileged home environments from which they come.
  3. teachers’ treatment of students’ wrong answers: results show that rather than using students’ thinking mistakes as opportunities for mean­ingful knowledge construction, teachers often ignore students’ wrong answers, or treat them by providing algorithms and “spoon feeding” the students with the correct answers. Ву using such pedagogies teachers decrease the cognitive demands of the thinking tasks and prevent stu­dents from the independent thinking that is necessary for their develop­ment.

Can such pedagogies be changed through a professional development course?

The results of an evaluation study of the development of 14 teachers who participated in an in-service professional development course showed that the course was indeed effective in inducing changes in teachers’ knowledge and beliefs regarding instruction of higher-order thinking and in the pedagogies they applied in class.

Science literacy at high school level. Luli Stern

Science and Technology for All is a relatively new subject being implemented now in Israel for students who do not wish to take on the in­depth learning of biology, chemistry, or physics at high school level. The purpose of this approach is to expose all students to scientific principles, extend their understanding of science, and consequently better prepare them to become scientifically literate adults in an increasingly complex world.

While this is a viable alternative for high school students, it also poses some significant difficulties. For example, while the curricula in phуsics, chemistry, and biology prescribe in great detail what learning outcomes students should master, Science and Technology for All lists only important topics to be taught but does not specify which ideas within these topics should be taught. This increases the level of autonomy of teachers and curriculum developers in determining the specific content to be taught. But what exact ideas and skills need to be taught to equip students to become science-literate adults?

This question has been undertaken in depth by the (American) National Асаdеmу of Science and by the Project 2061 of the AAAS. One of the guiding principles of this work is that learning goals ought to be specific enough to cover the curriculum, credible, developmentаlly­appropriate, and coherent. Science literacy for all means that fewer top­ics and ideas should be taught to allow more time and better quality for important ideas. Together with hundreds of scientists and science educators, Project 2061 has developed content benchmarks that clarify ехactlу what should be taught (and, by elimination, what should be left outside the curriculum).

Professional development workshops (carried out in Israel) for serv­ing teachers, trained to teach Science and Technology for All, were described. These workshops engage teachers in thinking about what spe­cific science content is worth learning, and in studying new integrated ­science curriculum materials. Teachers’ difficulties in making decisions about what content to include in their teaching were illustrаted during the presentation.

Two questions were posed at the end of the presentation. First, should core content in science be defined (and if so, at what level of specificity), and second, is there a common core content that is applicable for students all over the world (as opposed to a non-universal, culture-specific cur­riculum) .

Changes in curriculum and motivation of pupils and teachers. Changes in the biology curriculum in Israel. Rami Rahamimoff

Last year a change in the high school biology curriculum was sug­gested, and it is being expеrimеntally implemented this year. The pro­posed change was to add a third component to the academic curriculum: the first component is the core curriculum (the cell, the biology of envi­ronment, the human body), the second component consists of the elec­tives (3 out of б units, to choose by class, teacher and school), and the third component, still experimental, is a subject suggested by teachers and the school. The teachers and the schools are the ones to propose the curriculum and the syllabus, which have to be approved by the biology committee. This enables the committee both to be sensitive to issues of interest to students and teachers, and to increase their motivation.

Example: brain medicine and drugs, by Dvora Cohen and an advisory committee: among the various topics relevant to high school children, Dr Cohen decided to pick up on the effects of drugs on the brain and its behaviour. Among the manу drugs the one that is most dangerous is cocaine. The study of cocaine causes a tremendous interest among the students, increased motivation, learning, and is important in its own right. Dr Cohen is a high school teacher, and developed this unit as part of her Ph.D studies.

Motivating young people. Dan Shechtman

Young people acquire knowledge and are motivated by a large num­ber of people and exposures. Some of these are friends, parents, the media, school, Internet, after-school activities and more. In order to motivate them we need to use some or all of these “mind makers”.

Motivating people is an age-old skill, and leaders, positive or negative, have demonstrated their control of the minds of very large groups of peo­ple. A few examples are soldiers, fundamentalists, nuns, monks and terrorists who are willing to commit suicide for future joy in heaven as promised by a trusted leader.

In order to motivate young people to identify with and see themselves as future scientists or technologists, a seriousnational campaign must be launched. To succeed in this, we can аррlу a host of means. A scientific role-model figure is one. In Israel, scientists are not “cultural heroes” that serve as role-models. There are good examples in other places: France has a long history of leading scientists, and a tradition of honouring them. In France уоu can easily find streets and squares as well as schools and other public places named after scientists. Names of French scientists are well known and can provide a model for young people over a large cultural spectrum of the French society.

Another way of motivating people is by exposing them to new devel­opments in science. Providing them with information, in the classroom, in the form of posters (Nobel Prize posters or other high profile prize posters), demonstrations made for them in universities and transferred to the classroom by modem Internet techniques, as well as well-made science and engineering programs on TV.

There are several success stories in Israel in which students were moti­vated by well-prepared programs, aimed at motivating them to becom­ing scientists or technologists. One is the Ort experiment (E. Eizenberg and Y. Rom) designed to motivate girls to study math to a high level in high school.

Another example is the Technion Technological Entrepreneurship class, which attracts hundreds of students each уеar and which motivates the students to open a start-up in the future.

Yet another example is the Atidim program for young people from under-privileged areas to be assisted in their last years of high school in subjects critical to their admission into the best higher education institu­tions.

To succeed in this task, we should not simply imagine and guess why only a small percentage of young people choose the hard ways of becom­ing scientists or engineers. We need to ask them. A well-designed survey of the way children choose their future is called for, and its results will guide us. It is my opinion that the Israel Aсаdеmy of Sciences should involve itself with such a motivational project.

Centres for science teachers. Аvi Hofstein

The lecture focused on the establishment of National Centres for Science Teachers. They are located near the centres for science education in the universities, which are part of the Amos de-Shalit Israeli Science and Teсhnology Education Centre. The national teachers’ centres were estab­lished in order to provide science teachers in Israel with a life-long, con­tinuous, and dynamiс professional development scheme. The main roles of these centres are: professional development of leaders, providing sup­port for regional centres that were established ail over the country, design of models for effective professional development, and providing support for tutors and other leading personnel in the education system.

In chemistry for example, a course for leading chemistry teachers was conducted at the national Centre for chemistry teachers at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The course (450 hours over a period of two years) included develop­ment in the following three components: content knowledge, pedagogi­cal content knowledge and leadership skills. In the course, various strate­gies were used in order to develop these abilities: “action research”, “teachers as curriculum developers”, “coaching and tutoring” and “work­ing with scientists”.

During the years 1997-2000 we trained 38 teachers who graduated as leading teachers; most of these teachers are now involved in some kind of activity in which leadership is needed.

State centre for biology teachers: a case study of professional developtnent. Avital Darmon

Teachers in ail democracies today, and especially those working in the high school-state system are challenged by fast and vast changes in soci­eties and ideas; changes in the meaning of “knowledge”, “the adult” and “the state” influence teachers and their work everywhere. Biology teach­ers cope, in addition, with a most rapidly expanding subject matter.

Biology teachers in Israel have a tradition of serving the most heteroge­neous population of students who choose a scientific major.

The Israel Centre for Biology Teachers (ICBT) was established in the Hebrew University as one of the nationwide Centres for Science Teachers. In addition to the goals set by the Centre for Science Education, The ICBT’s activities were based upon professional assump­tions, such as “Expertise in teaching is found among teachers” and “Leadership among adult professionals is best developed by setting con­ditions for its expression: high expectations, self-selection, discussing meta-issues, team work, and good causes”. The ICBT therefore aimed at creating such conditions, to enhance articulation and sharing of profes­sional experience.

There are approximately 2,000 biology teachers in Israel, Jews and Arabs, 70% female, 40% with a master’s degree, 10% PhD. They teach grades 10-12, 24 hours/week, 27 students per class on the average. Every year, 600 of these teachers attend 3-4-day summer workshops, 200 attend weekly programs year long.

A system of incentives exists in Israel to promote teachers’ life-long­learning: teachers work 5 days a week (schools are open 6 days/week); thеу get a small yet accumulative increase in salary when studying after certification (1% increase for 120 hours of courses/workshops, up to about 30% salary increase over the years), and thеy are entitled to a sab­batical, provided thеy propose an appropriate study program.

Two examples of activities of the ICBT were presented: one for self­selected groups of teachers, who were willing to choose a subject, study it throughout the year and produce teaching materials to share with their peers ; and the other an annual conference of biology teachers, aimed at ail the teachers, and designated « of the teachers, by the teachers, for the teachers ». The conference has become a tradition, enabling about 100 teachers to present their work each уear, and another 500 to participate as colleagues. These and other activities serve the goals of the teachers’­centres.

Restructuring science education in a culture of teacher team work: the case of НЕIDA, a regional centre for science education in Tel Aviv. Нanna J. Arzi

Mу discussion of a culture of teacher teamwork is based on my expe­rience as the establishing director of HEMDA — a regional centre for science education operating in Tel Aviv since 1991. This specially designed centre coexists with the high schools for which it serves as a common science campus. HEMDA’s primary task is to provide advanced ­level courses in phуsics and chemistry. Starting in grade 10 or 11, over two or three years, students who choose to enrol in these courses meet twice a week according to a timetable which is coordinated with each school. All lessons take place in the laboratory environments of multi­functional science classrooms, where students encounter a programme that combines theory with practice and blends curricular teaching with a wealth of extra-curricular activities. Underlying the development of the HEMDA model is the belief in the advantages of the centralization and linkage of material and human resources and deliberate facilitation of teacher collaboration. The presentation focused on the issue of team work in the context of this centre.

At HEMDA, the label “team work” refers to multiple modes of teacher interaction, including sharing of ideas, coordinated teaching and co-teaching of single, inter- and multi-disciplinary subjects, and mutual peer coaching through which personal knowledge and expertise are flex­ibly distributed and augmented. The experience gained at HEMDA pro­vided evidence for some of the assumed virtues of a culture of team work and, at the same time, exposed barriers to a professionally meaningful and stable collaborative culture. These barriers include, interlia, lack of time, norms of privacy and individualism, as well as “tribal affiliations” (e.g., teachers whose self image is of “scientists who teach”, versus those who feel like “science teachers”). The experience also led to suggestions as to how to overcome these barriers. Based on HEMDAs cumulative experience, conditions for team work include both formal allocation of time for scheduled meetings and free time which teachers are encouraged to use for professional interaction with colleagues. The recommended model of team work is, therefore, a hybrid of the seemingly opposing forms of collegiality described in the Literature as “formal” or “contrived”, versus “informal” or “collaborative”.

Teaching and learning science and technology in junior high schools. Bat-Sheva Eylon

For 7th-9th- grade (junior high school), there are 300,000 students, 10,000 classes, about 5,000 teachers. The Harari commission recom­mended that science and technology teaching be marged.

They therefore created a new syllabus for science and technology in junior high schools aimed at educating the future citizen and providing a basic for further studies. Two comp!ementary goals are stated:

  1. to develop learning and inquiry skills, and
  2. to improve knowledge in science and technology in 7 main topics: materials; energy and interactions; technological systems and products; information and communication; Earth and the universe; organisms; eco-systems.

The curriculum is intended to cover 540 hours. In practice, the num­ber of hours scheduled by schools is smaller, and this has an apparent impact on implementation. Nonetheless, relations between the topics, and common basic skills are emphasized.

Much effort has been devoted to the development of innovative cur­ricular materials, based on the expertise of several development groups in Israeli institutions, and at the same time an intensive long-term pro­fessional development plan is being applied throughout the country, offering about 500 hours of courses and workshops for each teacher. The whole endeavour is still subject to research and evaluation.

Initial training, HIPM. Jean Jacques Dupin

The IUFM, an institution for training of primary and secondary school teachers, was created ten years ago.

IUFM begins at Baccalauréat + 3 years’ studies level and lasts two years. One can enter IUFM with anу Bac + 3 level. There is a possibility after 4 years’ university studies to go to agrégation and enter the IUFM for one year before teaching.

IUFM does not deliver anу diploma but prepares for a national com­petitive examination: mathematics and French language, and option 1 with different disciplines (physics and teсhnology, biology and geology, history and geography) and option 2 (foreign language, musical educa­tion, arts) as well as obligatory sport education andoral presentation.

IUFM 2nd yеar is the professional training alternating IUFM and school teaching: during this period the students are panda civil servant salary. They have to write a dissertation (Mémoire) on a professional problem.

For the primary school teachers, all of them are multi-subject, with a possible development: in 2003 there mаy be 3 dominant options. In sec­ondary school teaching, both private and public teachers are concerned, in contrast to the primаry school teachers. At the end of the exam, the students become fonctionnaire stagiaire and after one year, if thеy succeed, they become civil servants.

In-service training for primary teachers. Jean-Luc Bénéfice

During what time? They teach 26 hours a week, plus 1 hour that is saved and combined to attend a session of training on a сounty level. This represent 80% of the program in common sessions and 10% for local sessions.

Some sections are not open to everybody : the inspector suggests that the teacher must attend such a session (10 % of the attendants as indi­cated already above).

Long-term training for one year outside training, or internai promo­tion, which represents 2 %. But the teachers have to be replaced. This demands a special care. They have also to attend evening sections, which represents 8 % of the program selected and do not need to be replaced.

About the topics selected : according to personal deficits and national priorities. The topics are defined by the inspectors, by the teachers and by the unions. Then the topics are posted, including on the Internez, and the teachers have to follow.

Role of the Internet. David jasmin

The Internet system of La Main à la Pâte is devoted to primary schools. It is run by the French Sciences Aсаdеmуand the National Institute for Pedagogical Research (INRP). It is composed of 8,000 pages, with a lot of information, programs and collected resources. It allows the teachers to communicate with each other (rend information on one activity, or comments on the activities of others). English books translated into French can be downloaded in PDF format. Publisher copyrights allow for this as long as the downloading is not intended for commercial distribution but for teaching for the training course, etc., or for distribution in the classroom. A discussion list is devoted to primary school teachers. There are also two web sites for teachers and scientists (60 volunteers that answer teachers’ questions within 48 hours, 300 questions per year and on the rise).

As there were a lot of questions on pedagogy, a web site of trainers was created: there are more than 100 messages per month.

Local web sites have been created by some schools, producing infor­mation and also their own resources. There are 12 local web sites that follow La Main á la Pâte Charter and are connected to the same search engine so that one can access their information even when connected to the specific site.

23 October 2001: Science and Technology (Round table on technology). Jean-Pierre Sarmant

Technology is a problem where France is concerned. It can mean several things. In collège it means designing an artefact and computer liter­acу There is little correlation with teaching sciences such as physics, chemistry, and so on.

In Israel, technology should not be developed too much because it has to be related to scientific teaching (that emerged from the Harari report). If you talk about technology уou talk about applications, but it should not be separated from science in the curriculum and syllabus. In the beginning the rive to an integrative system encountered strong opposi­tion, but now it is a reality.

The problem is: what is technology? Or is it a discipline? Problem solving and skill development are integrated in a creative approach whatever the topic. Any technology question is related to a concept in science education in different disciplines. In addition, we implement interdisciplinary teaching with several teachers working as a team. In Israel, schools are close to high schools which means that al the teachers in the different disciplines can help. It is always a team that teaches.

Jean-Luc Bénéfice

Around the world, the word technology has different meanings: applied sciences, but the objects obtained in the conditions available are very poor; the construction process of an artefact; design and conception to promote creativity of pupils (bricolage génial); promote high tech. In France, technology teaching promotes very few stereotypic constructions (1-4 subjects, always the same, treated in many classes), which is not very good. And in every country technology is treated dif­ferently.

Bat-Sheva Eylon

In an empiric way, what could be done ? Design is taught diffеrently from one school to the next, therefore there are alternative ways to design. All the teachers feel that it is important to teach design and it is well accepted by the system. People from the engineering field also feel that it is very important. Communication is also important and very well accepted by the system.

What is important is the way to learn. There are projects which are closely related to working in industry and pupils investigate for them­selves. Some teaching units look at bridge: the ways they were designed, constructed. Another way is to learn from measurements in technology and in science.

The situation in the schools does not make it easy to teach as team, but it is a long tradition of teaching in Israel. In Israel, technology teachers used to teach computing and robotics. We are changing : we learn computer science in the context of any given discipline.

Anat Zohar

Teaching literacy should be combined with other disciplines and teaching thinking ? I am for the integration of that topic. I feel that the same goes for technology: it has to be integrated.

Dan Shechtman

I feel very detached with what is being said here: technology is build­ing something. Scientists know very little about technology because thеу have not seen what machines look like. If уоu go into a factory, уоu will see black boxes and will lot understand. There should be films to explain the technology and then pupils look at the machine.Teachers confuse the pupils, because thеу do not teach technology!

Avi Hofstein

In most countries, technology disappears from senior high school, and is restricted to junior high school, even if we have a program in Israel. In the future if we go more dеeрly into teaching we will have to think about technology.

Hanna Arzi

First point: we must ask how children view technology. Second point: for me technology is both a means and an end, it is a way to teach science, to understand science better.

Harma Vinnik

There is not only one sуstem. Even the same syllabus can derive from several curricula. Few technology courses will give you the same answers. There is no technology research in primary school or high school. In junior high school we introduced team teaching, which helps.

Luli Stern

Few examples exist of high quality teaching of technology in its own right. More often it is an excuse to teach science! We use USA standards for teaching in sciences, but for technology, standards are issued sepa­rately in the different state of the USA.

Pierre Léna: historical situation.

First: the past was manufacturing. Second is the democratisation of the collège or junior high school. Third is that we are moving from a man­ufacturing era to a communication era with production of immaterial goods.

The position in our collèges reflects that situation. Technology emerged from production and had to find an identity as a discipline. Computer science is a drift towards communication. Technical skills are still needed for manufacturing computers for instance. In France we have a decrease of pupils going on to professional training (10% in 2000-2001, improved this year through a state aid).

Anat Zohar

Good films could show how experiments are carried out in the lаbо­ratory, the same for technology.

Benny Geiger

The reference to technology education is sometimes confusing. Teaching technology is not meant to be vocational but rather teaching the “technological process”. Specific technologies should not be taught in detail, because technology evolves, and will be different in a few years. It is better to teach principles and basic sciences. Only those are trulу important.

Pierre Léna

In France we have completely failed in teaching technology at collège, maybe because we have not really tried.

Аvi Hofstein

The SIS approach is related to frustration in science education. But the way we teach has nothing to do with real life. We have to show the relevance of science in order to increase motivation. The other problem is monotony in the teaching methods we use which is no good to improve motivation.

Ludovic Jullien

Integrating teaching to attack соmplexity. What is the way уоu use?

Anat Zohar

We begin with a very deep study of the content; we have to be very clear on the process knowing that уоu can go through all the process at the same time. You have to structure some leading fines in the contents.

Another problem: try to use a process in a different context and show what is general. There are the concepts and the process. This is very dif­ficult for the teachers but thеy can make tremendous progress if we work with them сonсretely on the problem.

Bob Lapidot

Views of technology held by scientists, teachers and governments are very different and even contradictory.

Bat-Sheva Eylon

It is better to teach with a reductionist approach than in a complex way. In some cases we teach with a reductionist approach and later, 2-3 years later, we revisit the subject in a more complex way.

Вепny Geiger

In view of the rapid changes in science, we should mainlу aim to raise curiosity and teach the natural processes.

Ludоviс Jullíen

When I entered the Comité National des Programmes, the French Minister said “you have to kill technology”.

Jean-Pierre Sarmant

The problem is societal. Integration of technology might be the solu­tion, but the technology teachers do not agree. They say integration will kill technology. In conclusion we need a Harari report for France.

Pierre Léna

The new Académie des Technologies was created in January 2001, for engineering and society. We have asked them to think about the educa­tion system. We hope to have a joint report from both Academies. The experience in Israel in the field is interesting in this respect. Your team teaching work is also very interesting for us because we are currently very far from that. It is one of our goals for the next 20 years.

Вéatriсе Salviat

I know nothing about technology, and have never met a technology teacher.

Jean-Pierre Sarmant

This is a very important point, because our teachers, lot onlу do lot, on the average, know the syllabi or curricula of other disciplines but also toi often do lot even know the teachers of other disciplines.

Pierre Léna

There is a failure in our system: because of their university training, teachers consider themselves as specialists. To implement any teamwork is therefore difficult.

Веnny Geiger

Intuition versus education and team work. You need to be more than just “formally educated”. Inc goal of science education is to “feel” the field; however, you cannot develop intuition without a string basis in sci­ence.

Future cooperation and concluding remarks. Pierre Lena

At the end of the meeting, Pierre Léna drew the following conclu­sions, submitted for approval to the Israel delegates:

A group of 12 persons from Israel and 11 from France, scientists and educators, met at Les Treilles to address various issues of science and tech­nology education at primary and secondary schools levels. Despite the common wish of both parties, circumstances prevented the attendance of Palestinian participants.

During this three-daу meeting, the following issues were addressed:

  • interaction between the scientific community and educators at pri­mary and secondary levels of education systems
  • global policies (Нarari report in Israel, La Main à la Pâte and the Plan de rénovation in France)
  • science and technology education at the level of junior high school (collège in France)
  • core curriculum issues
  • teacher training in service and pre-service
  • team teaching strategies.

On both sides, the involvement of Academies is considered essential for success as providing continuity, authority and quality control.

Organisations involved or potentially concerned in the leadership of science and technology initiatives include, in addition to the official ministerial bodies:

  • in France: Conseil national des programmes, Académie des technologies,
  • in Israel: Science centres.

The meeting was very positive. It was unanimously felt that it would be useful to repeat it in two years, and that it could be organized in Israel. In the meantime, information, exchanges and/or discussion groups on specific subjects could be arranged. More spеcifically, the Israel Aсadеmy could host such a group on the subject of science and technology. Another possible subject would be the visit by French delegates to the Israeli instruction centres for science and arts. The French side would welcome an Israeli delegation to examine in detail La Main à la Pâte activities and resources. A joint team could also discuss possible cooper­ation on Internet-based teaching resources.

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
ldiebold (23 octobre 2001). Franco-Israeli colloquium on “Science Education in Primary and Secondary Schools” Les carnets de la Fondation des Treilles. Consulté le 24 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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