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International Education: Focus on Chile

Student/Country Focus

The June/July 2017 Student/Country Focus is provided by Paulina Bravo González from Chile.

Paulina Bravo González


My name is Paulina Bravo González from Chile; I am a biologist and currently I am a PhD student at the Institute of Education University College of London.

Since 2009 I have been working with a group of secondary science teachers called PRETeC (Spanish for Profesores Reflexionando por una Educación Tranformadora en Ciencias) in continuous professional development. Our main aim is to share our practice and learn from our own experience aiming to improve the teaching of science.

My topic in the PhD is related to the Big Ideas in Science Education and how science teachers can create and develop their own Big Ideas related to their context, students and knowledge.

Paulina's Education and Experience

In 2003, I started to study biology and in 2008, I began studying teacher training in biology at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaisol in Chile.  I became interested in education after meeting a teacher who was the lecturer for a course named Inquiry-Based Science Education (ECBI). Since that time I have been interested in the relationship that I could make between the teaching of science and my career as a biologist. After this course, I opted for an exchange to Argentina for a semester to continue with my desire to know more about the teaching of science. At the end of the exchange, I started to work with a group of teachers in a laboratory of science education in the same Chilean university and I got my MA in science education.

Now I'm starting a PhD in Education at the Institute of Education and I think that one of the reason I’m doing this programme is related to my previous experience working with secondary teachers since 2009 in PRETeC. I feel like I’m kind of envoy to London to show what we have learned as a group, how we have grown all these years and what the reflection of practices has meant for us. At this moment, I am designing my research problem and it is inevitable that I am drawing questions from PRETeC.

My main problem now is related to Big Ideas of Science Education for teaching science as a growing view in the science curriculum in many countries. But there is not much knowledge of how science teachers work with Big Ideas in the classroom and how they can create/redesign collaboratively their own Big Ideas curriculum. Trying to fill that gap, my research aims to explore the intentions and practices in relation to the Big Ideas of Science Education by science teachers in Chile, thus contributing to the knowledge about teaching science. In this sense, I believe that my experiences with PRETeC show me the value that the experience of classroom teachers have and how we can theorise that practice to contribute to the body of knowledge of how to teach with Big Ideas of Science Education.

Featured Resources

English Language Resource

When searching for Chilean education information, you may want to widen your search to databases, journals and book compilations about education in South America. The following article can be found on Explore:

Spanish Language Resource

In Chile there is a group of teachers and workers in education called MUD (Movement for the Teaching Unit). Since 2012, MUD tries to ‘give voice’ to teachers and workers in education and deals with the role of the teacher in education, the image that society has of teachers in Chile and how teachers are trying to adapt their roles inside and outside the classroom.  These kind of questions and some history of MUD and the teachers’ roles are dealt with in 'Arriba profes de Chile: de la precarización neoliberal a la reorganización docente' (below) which can be found via Explore. 

The book version can be found at the British Library.