Brazilian teachers' perceptions of genetics as school contents
This work analyses the answers to questionnaires and interviews with high school biology teachers in the public state school from 20 of the 26 Brazilian states. The sample was composed by a methodology based on convenience, and spans Brazilian diversity. Faced with a scenario in which genetics appears as a field of knowledge in which paradigm shifts happen over a short span of time, in this study we intend to observe how teachers in Brazilian basic education deal with the latest issues in genetics, and which topics generate major challenges in the field of understanding and in the process of didactisation of knowledge. The data collected yielded information on what is being prioritized in genetics teaching in Brazilian public schools. It reveals that while teachers consider classic Mendelian genetics and topics such as mitosis and meiosis to be important, they choose to avoid related issues, such as gametogenesis, as well as subjects which can promote critical thinking and citizenship, such as genetic manipulation. With regard to this last topic, the data clearly show that the problem is not related to importance recognition of the theme, but a real challenge for teachers to meet their own expectations, and those of the students, regarding this topic. Our data allows us to conclude that teachers need updated and in-depth training in the area of biotechnology, in order to better inform discussions on related themes, otherwise students will continue to have few opportunities to develop critical thinking and act as informed citizens.
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