The School of Education Community Engagement Cluster hosted two Brazilian academics, Professor Solange Locatelli (Federal University of ABC) and Professor Leonardo Testoni (Federal University of São Paulo) on the Edgewood campus. The visit was made possible by Academic Leader for Community Engagement Professor Angela James and was financially supported by the Brazilian Government.
The outcomes of the visit include a cooperation and framework agreement for the scientific development of all three institutions. This will promote internationalisation and the sharing of knowledge and practices relating to diverse educational issues. These include cultural and special needs; strategies for teaching and learning in education; and exploring inquiry-based teaching and learning in the foundation phase – theory and practices, successes, challenges and failures.
In collaboration with the Brazilian researchers in Science Education, James also hosted a workshop titled, Inquiry-based learning: principles and applications. The workshop targeted Foundation Phase teachers and aimed to improve knowledge of inquiry-based learning that is considered as an important approach to teaching and learning science.
‘The inquiry-based learning approach has great pedagogical potential, as it places the learner as the protagonist of the educational process, developing several important skills for science learning,’ said James. ‘The proposed activities seek to engage learners in solving a significant problem, making and testing hypotheses, reaching conclusions and constructing explanatory models, in addition to communicating new knowledge with colleagues.’
The workshop included observation of the participating teachers’ engagement, as well as reflections on their pedagogical practices.
Testoni said, ‘It was an amazing experience with new connections and knowledges. It was a pleasure to teach together with the educators.’ Locatelli commented: ‘This was an opportunity to meet new people and their culture. Sharing moments of discovery motivated us to learn new things. It transformed our stay in Durban into wonderful moments of reflections on science teaching in the modern world.