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EDUCATION : GAPS IN TEACHER TRAINING ARE OF CONCERN TO EURYDICE.

The use of information technology for teaching science in schools is not as broad as it should be, according to a report published by Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe.

The report, published in September, notes that studies have shown the utility of computer simulations for improving students' cognitive understanding. They do this by providing theoretical or simplified models of real-word phenomena, and allowing students to change features of them and to observe the results. Its findings are, however, that simulation is seldom a prescribed activity on either primary, or lower secondary school curricula.

The extent to which teachers are being prepared to teach in innovative ways is also a subject for the study, which examines the regulations on science teaching at primary and lower secondary level(1) in 30 European countries. It notes that, while teacher trainers are required in most countries to hold a science degree, it is less common for them to need specific qualifications as teacher trainers, or to have experience in conducting education research. These gaps, the report notes, could have a negative impact on the extent to which science teachers innovate in the classroom.

Another potential problem involves the extent to which teachers are being trained to understand the inherent gender differences that exist in pupils' attitudes towards studying science. The report finds that only around half of the national education systems surveyed have a reference to this dimension in their guidelines for teacher education, leading Eurydice to pose the question of whether science curricula and teaching methods favour boys.

Eurydice is an EU-funded network for gathering information on education systems and policies, including in EU candidate countries.

(1) ISCED 1 & 2

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Oct 3, 2006
Words:280
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