USF Elementary Science Teaching Program

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Teachers from the Republic of Panama, from Bocas del Toro to Darién, are this week at the City of Knowledge participating in the University of South Florida (USF) Elementary Science Teaching Program.

The program is designed by the University of South Florida (USF) to meet the needs expressed by the National Secretariat of Science Technology and Innovation (SENACYT) and the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA). "Professors with Doctorates in Teaching of English-speaking Sciences from the School of Education of USF travel to Panama and in coordination with our office of USF Health Panama at the City of Knowledge, expose teachers to strategies for teaching science based in investigation," explains Gladys Bernett, Director of Program Development at USF at the City of Knowledge.

"One hundred teachers of the National Education System of the 10 provinces, who are part of the" Panama Bilingual "program of the Ministry of Education, have benefited from this program offered by USF to learn effective practices of science teaching as well as content of sciences at primary level that they adapt directly in their classrooms "says Prof. Isabel Cubilla, Coordinator of the Panama Bilingual Program of the Ministry of Education.

For his part, teacher Raul Villarreal of Herrera indicated that "this program teaches elementary school children to research and to do science. Children already believe themselves to be scientists and it's fabulous."

Amanda Loo, a teacher from Bocas del Toro, tells us, "with this program I have taught children to imagine and explore, and now they see science in a fun way." While teacher Leo Mojica, from Veraguas, adds, "this program is excellent because it is giving us confidence as teachers to transmit to children about how to express their ideas and creativity."

"In this course I am learning new teaching techniques, which I have easily been able to implement in my classrooms," says teacher Itzel Ballesteros from Panamá Oeste.

Dr. Maria Heller, Director of Innovation in Learning of SENACYT comments "the program has a face-to-face component where specific activities are easily transferred to the classroom as well as a virtual component that uses contemporary strategies in virtual teaching. The teachers travel from different areas of the country and move to the facilities at the City of Knowledge where the course is offered."

"I am very impressed with the enthusiasm shown by teachers for teaching science in English in their classrooms," says Dr. Karl Jung, professor of science education at the University of South Florida.

Teacher Juliany Tejedor, from Coclé, tells us "the course is helping me a lot because it inspires me with ideas to be able to work with accessible materials that surround us. We also see how children are enjoying science."

"Science is the future and the future is children," exclaims Gladys Bernett of USF. The Science Teaching Program in English provides participating teachers with tools that increase their commitment to education in the fields of science and technology, thus increasing the opportunities for the future of the children they educate in their educational centers.