Spain | Netherlands | Germany | Portugal | Summary
- Initial and in-  service   training of   early   childhood   teachers
- Programme   contents
- State of the   art of   Portuguese   Research
- References

- Summary

1-Initial and in-service training of early childhood teachers


Today Early Childhood Teacher Training is regulated by the Law of Bases of the Educational System, Law 46/86 of October and more specifically by Law 115/97 of September:

·         Early childhood, basic education and secondary education teachers obtain their professional qualifications via a higher education first degree course with Honours (licenciatura, the course having a normal duration of four academic years), the curricula of which being organized to meet the professional requirements of the correspondent level of education and teaching;

·         Initial training for Early Childhood and Basic Education teachers is provided at Higher Schools of Education and Universities.


The curriculum structure of the courses should include (Decree-Law 344/89 of 11 October):

·         One adequately adjusted training component leading to personal, social, cultural, scientific, technological, technical or artistic development;

·         One Educational Sciences component;

·         One Pedagogical Practice component.


Some examples of the scientific, technological, technical disciplines are: ICT education; natural sciences; scientific understanding of the world; methods of research and organization of the information; science, culture and society; natural and social sciences; educational uses of ICT.


There are training schools offering special education needs programmes and intercultural education options thus contributing to a great diversity of training provision.

Specialized Training prepares teachers for specialized educational duties or activities (school management, pedagogical supervision, research, etc.) and is offered at Higher Schools of Education and Universities.

In-service training provides updating, improvement, retraining and support to the professional activities of teachers leading to career development and mobility. In-service training is offered by institutions set up for this purpose or by public and private entities.


2-Programme contents in Pre-school (less than 6 years old) and Compulsory school (6 to 15 years old)


Pre-school education practices in Portugal have always been highly diversified due to the inexistence of a clear attribution of pedagogical responsibilities. Therefore each educational context establishes its own pedagogical approach. However, Early Childhood teachers have been exposed to common objectives during their initial training, which result in the adoption of relatively similar methodologies.

2.1-Curriculum guidelines in Pre-school Education


The Curriculum Guidelines do not constitute a syllabus. They are, otherwise, a) a set of principles aimed at assisting teachers in making decisions concerning their educational approaches, i.e. guiding the children’s educational process; b) a common reference for all teachers of the National Pre-School Network to be used in the organization of the educational component.

They are not a syllabus and they differ from some curriculum conceptions in that:

·         Their perspective is based on teaching rather than on expected learning;

·         Their scope is wider i.e. they enable the adoption of different educational options and, therefore, different curricula.

The Guidelines are organized as follows:

·         Broad principles and pedagogic objectives as stated in the Pre-School Education Framework;

·         Bases and organizational principles for the Guidelines;

·         Guidelines.

The Curriculum Guidelines are based on the following interrelated concepts:

·         Children’s development and learning are concurrent;

·         Children are the subjects of the educational process, therefore, their knowledge should be valued and serve as the starting point for the acquisition of new knowledge;

·         Multi-faceted learning i.e. recognition that learning is interrelated and not divided into separate areas;

·         Children’s questions must be answered, a principle involving a differentiated pedagogical approach focusing on cooperation within the group.

Curriculum development is the teacher’s responsibility and should take into account not only the above concepts but also:

·         Overall objectives of pre-school education a) the promotion of personal and social development; b) individualized global development; c) socialization and learning of attitudes, language, expression and understanding of the world.

·         Organization of the educational environment as a support to teacher’s performance.

·         Content areas should be viewed as a general reference to be taken into account when planning and evaluating learning opportunities:

1.       Personal and social development area;

2.       Expression/communication area:

A) Motor, drama, art and musical expression;

B) Oral and written language;

C) Mathematics.

3.       Knowledge of the world area

·         Educational continuity;

·         Educational intentionality.


2.2-Analysis of the curriculum guidelines in the perspective of “Technical Education” in Pre-school


A concern in technical education by developing curiosity and critical thinking can be inferred from an overview to the document “Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-school Education” (Rule no. 5220/97), mainly from its overall objectives and from its content areas.

The Knowledge of the world area is rooted in children’s natural curiosity and their desire to know what and understand why. This curiosity is fostered and broadened through opportunities to get in touch with new situations envisaged as opportunities for world inquiry and exploration.

The Knowledge of the world area is considered as an introduction to Science which might be more or less linked to their close environment although pointing out at the introduction to some features concerned with different fields of human knowledge: history, sociology, geography, physics, chemistry and biology... which although elemental and fit to so young children should always correspond to a sharp scientific rigour. Some experiences are proposed from physics and chemistry (light, air, water, etc) such as playing with water, filling up containers and emptying them, which are supposed to be a pretext to make them understand that air occupies space, experiment the principle of the communicating vases, inquire why some objects float and others don’t. There’s also a reference to some means of exploring light and shadow effects, by using both natural means (sun light) and technical ones (lamps, overhead projector, slide projector, etc) allowing, for example, to explore the shadow angle of inclination and length hour after hour all the day long, to project their own body’s or hands’ shadow and to play with forms, colours, materials and textures.

Dealing with these different features implies two types of materials: Information materials such as books, newspapers, videos, slides, computers, on the one hand, and materials for experiments, on the other hand. Among these very simple current life or natural environment materials can be used along with some more specific ones like magnets, magnifying glasses, binoculars, microscopes... It is important for children to handle this kind of instruments and explore their possibilities as a way to get familiar with science.

The Knowledge of the world area should both allow to contact with the attitude and methodology characteristic of science and to foster children’s scientific and experimenting attitude. This attitude means the fundamental discovery process that characterises scientific research. Hence, having a situation or a problem as a starting-point, children will have the opportunity to propose some explanations and confront their own perspectives about reality. Teacher’s support is targeted to further examination of some issues by encouraging the construction of more or less rigorous concepts building up over children’s knowledge and deciding whether it is eventually necessary to collect some more information and where to look for it. Then it is important to confirm the observation undertaken and/or the experience-based hypotheses in a way to organise and systematise the collected knowledge.

The organisation of such data will lead to the need for the use of reporting forms allowing for their classification and rank ordering (drawings, charts, written description of the process). Knowledge systematisation may eventually lead to the need for seeking further information in a way to frame that knowledge and precise “more rigorous and scientific” concepts, having sharing and inquiry of children’s explanations as a basis. The whole process will most probably lead to the raising of new issues asking for new developments.

What really is at stake in this field is the learning process whatever the matters approached and the developments followed: children’s capacity to observe, their desire to experiment, their intellectual curiosity and critical attitude.

Directly related to the Knowledge of the world area there’s the Mathematics area mainly as a way of thinking and organising experience which implies looking for some patterns, reasoning on data, problem-solving and reporting.

 In written language area, in addition to the approach to writing skills, special attention is also paid to Information and Communication Technologies (audio-visual technologies). The use of ICT from pre-school education onwards can foster several learning opportunities providing an introduction to an increasingly necessary different code, the computing code. This code can be used in art and music as well as in the treatment of the writing code and mathematics.


2.3-Early Technical Education in Pre-school Education (less than 6 years of age) and primary school (6 to 9 years of age): some reflections.


The analysis of pre-school and primary school curricula concerning Technical Education allows for the following conclusions:

·         Pre-school Education aims to ensure the basic conditions for succeeded further learning. This means, not a direct preparation for compulsory education, but the contact with the culture and tools they will need to get along with in further learning processes throughout their lives;

·         The Knowledge of the world area in pre-school education aims, not to promote encyclopaedia knowledge, but to afford relevant and meaningful learning not necessarily related to children’s close experience. Even if children do not fully handle some contents, the introduction to different scientific fields fosters the development of Children’s curiosity and desire for knowledge.

·          Educational continuity between both these schooling cycles is also stressed (one should bare in mind not only the learning achieved but also each child’s learning rhythm);

·         The Knowledge of the world area in pre-school education is somehow related to Social Studies in primary school, whose components (self-awareness and knowledge of others and of institutions, of the natural environment, of the inter-relationship between spaces, materials and objects) can also be the references for pre-school education.

·         Social Studies in primary school has an interdisciplinary and simultaneously integrating character promoting the development of skills that integrate knowledge, know-how-to-do and know-how-to-be (it includes specific contributions from several sciences, namely Natural and Physical Science, Geography, ICT, etc)

·         From the competencies pupils are supposed to have developed at the end of primary school the following should be highlighted: a) Expresses, justifies and discusses personal ideas on phenomena and problems from physical and social environment with a view to understand cooperation and solidarity; b) Uses different forms of written, oral and graphic communication and applies research, organization and data processing elementary techniques; c) Participates in research and inquiry games and uses scientific processes in experimental activities; d) Devises and builds simple tools by using knowledge about the elementary proprieties of materials, substances and objects; e) Identifies some objects and technological resources, recognizes their importance in the satisfaction of certain human needs and adopts a favourable attitude towards development.

·         It is pleaded that, besides subject-driven learning, knowledge should also be built through pupils’ learning experiences involving problem solving, project work and research activities.

·         As a guiding principle the importance is highlighted of environment awareness through adoption of a persistent inquiry and experimenting attitude, that is, the development of children’s scientific attitude is strongly aimed at.

·         The study carried out by Martins and Veiga (1999) “ Analysis of Basic Education Curriculum in the perspective of Science Education”, referring to the document Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-school Education, points out the existence of some gaps in integrating concepts (as for example electrical and electronic systems; themes related to material transformation...) that could be approached in this age level. On the other hand, it calls our attention to the need for more explicit guidelines for the development of the document’s broad intentions. As for the primary school curriculum it highlights both some imprecision or lack of rigour in the definition of some concepts and some discontinuity in theme treatment.


2.4-Analysis of the subject Technological Education in Basic Education (from 6 to 15 years of age)


This curriculum is a competence-based curriculum. According to Decree-Law 6/2001 the definition of “a set of competencies considered as essential and structuring for the development of the national curriculum” is due to the Ministry of Education. This chapter is based on the document resulting from this directive.

About the word “competence”, “a broad notion of competence is hereby adopted comprising knowledge, skills, and attitudes which can be envisaged as knowledge in action or in use.” (...) “In this sense, the notion of competence is close to the concept of literacy.” (p.9).


Technological Education

Technological Education is presented as driven from the need to acquire technological culture, developing pupils in different contexts such as:

·         Individual user – the one who uses technology daily;

·         Professional user– the one who links technology to work;

·         Social user– the one who can understand, choose and act socially.


A competence profile has been defined linked to the definition of a technologically competent citizen capable of, for instance:

·         Reading and interpreting elementary object-fitting graph outlines;

·         Understanding diagrams;

·         Knowing about product and technology dangers;

·         Seeking for relations between technology and natural and social environment;

·         Identifying some contemporary jobs;


o        Using recycled material and recycle others;

o        Adapting to social and technological change;

o        Transforming objects, fitting them to new structures;

o        Dismounting e mounting simple objects;


q       Reflecting on the social and ethical effects of technology;

q       Participating in environment and consumer protection;

q       Acting by adopting a favourable attitude towards security and health;


Ø       Analysing the way an object or a system operates;

Ø       Selecting relevant information;

Ø       Evaluating measures and actions;

Ø       Judging systems’ reliability.



The Technological Education area has been devised under an open and globalising perspective comprising different dimensions: Economy, Society, Culture, Environment and Products , its Contents being organized according to a structure in 3 main axes:


¨Technology and Society  - comprising the following themes:

-          Technology and social development;

-          Technology and consuming.

¨ Technological Process – integrating the following themes:

-          Technical Object;

-         Planning and development of technical products and systems.

¨Concepts, principles and logical operators  - implying the themes:

-          Enduring Structures;

-          Movements and devices;

-          Energy accumulation and transformation;

-          Regulation and control;

-          Materials.


“As has been defined, competence in technology is acquired and enhanced through experimentation of experiences mobilizing:

(i)                   Integration of learning, knowledge and concepts, either specific or common to different knowledge fields;

(ii)                 Transformation of acquisitions by materializing knowledge in concrete situations asking for operational responses;

(iii)                Mobilization of knowledge, experience and ethical positioning, and

(iv)                The setting up of situations asking for decision-making and problem-solving.”



In this sense, the design and development of Learning Experiences including different kinds of activities assumes a major importance:

¨Observation  - for example: observation of objects or systems.

¨Research - for example: research on technical solutions.

¨Problem solving- for example: technical and technological problem solving.

¨Experimentation - for example: experimentation through kits, models, and simulations.

¨Design - for example: design of objects; design of projects.

¨Organization and Management - for example: organization and management of information and production procedures.

¨Technical and workshop production - for example: device production or portfolio development.


In planning and preparation of experiences and educational activities teachers can also get support from a set of Components to be taken into account:

¨ Historical and social component

¨ Scientific component

¨ Technical component

¨Communicational component

¨Methodological component





3-State of the art of the Portuguese Research


            In this section, some of the structuring projects on Technical Education in Portugal and some academic research outcomes will be presented.


3.1- Structuring Projects


The MINERVA Project


“MINERVA (ICT in Teaching, Rationalization, Development, Upgrading) is the first and most relevant nation-wide project aiming to introduce and investigate the use of ICT in Basic and Secondary Education.” This project started in 1985 simultaneously with other similar projects launched all over the world, particularly in some European countries. Considered as an integrating and interdisciplinary project, it was targeted at providing schools not only with ICT equipment but also with teacher training and at the same time contributing to the introduction and experimentation of ICT in the field of Education.

Following a joint proposition with four other Universities, the University of Coimbra, through its Engineering and Electronics Department, devised this nation-wide project, which aggregated several secondary schools. Having as its original goals ICT teaching objectives and the aim to use the computer as a technological device supporting different subjects’ teaching and learning process, it rapidly widened its scope to all the fields where ICT (Information and Communication technologies) could act as a student motivating tool and an interdisciplinary and team work promoting device, within either formal or non formal curriculum.

As it has expanded, this project has been organized around Poles based at Universities and Higher Schools of Education responsible for the training and monitoring of teachers from Basic and Secondary Education school networks. In this context, the project has been disseminated all over the country at the Basic and Secondary Education levels, through:

-          Different teacher and trainer training programmes;

-          Implementation of the use of ICT in schools – including particular cases such as Special Education or preparation for active life (IVA project);

-          Launching of projects aiming at fostering the use of ICT in schools implying interaction with their surrounding community;

-          Design, construction, adaptation and publication of a wide range of educational software applications;

-          Curriculum and material development.


 This project has inspired several discussions, reflections and researches stemming from implementation-driven needs and it has fostered new forms of international co-operation. Several national, regional and local meetings have also been organised which, like many other activities, resulted in a great number of publications, the statement being legitimate that: “all the experiences and projects developed within or as consequence of the MINERVA Project have engendered a vast community of teachers, trainers and researches with deep and diversified knowledge on the educational use of ICT”. By the end of the project, in the school year 1993/1994, it has left hehind “high expectations on further developments, (...) in what concerns training procedures and school provision with hardware and software”.

A considerable number of teachers involved in the MINERVA Project have subsequently participated in programmes aiming at providing teacher training and ICT equipment and they have also joined in-service teacher training structures.

It can also be stated that the “seeds” left by the Program are also patent in the curriculum and methodological options institutionally assumed in the fields of Basic and Secondary Education and teacher training both at the disciplinary and at the interdisciplinary levels.



Nónio-XXI Century Program




One of the MINERVA Project’s recommendations based on consideration of  “technologies as means to enhance and enhance teaching-learning procedures”, was the materialisation of an integrative strategy to introduce ICT in the field of Education by extending previous experiences to Basic and Secondary Education with support from Higher Education Institutions.

This was one of the motivations for the creation of the Nónio-XXI Century Program. The choice of the name Nonio – precision measuring instrument created by Pedro Nunes -  “constitutes, over and above all, a tribute to the great mathematician, geographer and pedagogue Pedro Nunes (1502-1578), one of the scientists who most contributed to the projection and consolidation of the Portuguese Discovery enterprise and to the consolidation of a scientific culture of which he was one of the most brilliant predecessors.” The aim was to highlight the role of ICT not as an end in itself but as a tool for the future, for rigour and for knowledge.

The project was launched in 1996 by decision of the Ministry of Education (No 232/ME/96, October 4th) and was destined to “the production, implementation and generalisation of the use of ICT in the Educational System” following these specific objectives:

“a) Provide basic and secondary education schools with multimedia equipment and monitor the process by providing adequate initial and continuing training as a way to encourage a full use of the potential set up;

b) Support the implementation of school-based projects through partnership with specific institutions, thus promoting these projects’ viability and sustainability;

c) Encourage and support the creation of educational software and mobilize the editorial market;

d) Promote the introduction and generalisation of the use of ICT as a result from the dynamics emerging from b) and c) in a way to address the system’s needs and ensure its development;

e) Promote dissemination and interchange of information about education both at the national and at the international levels through networking and support to congresses, symposia, seminars and other scientific and pedagogic meetings.”

This program is structured into sub-programs:

Sub-Program I – Implementation and Development of ICT in the educational system;

Sub-Program II – Training in ICT;

Sub-Program III – Creation and Development of Educational Software;

Sub-Program IV – Information Dissemination and International Co-operation;

It is structured into Competence Centres (we’ve identified 26 Centres) covering the whole country destined to promote reflection, study and research on themes related to ICT in addition to providing support to the preparation and development of school-based projects. Each Competence Centre chooses a central theme, devises a project and sets out its main objectives having Nónio Program’s guidelines and aims as a framework.

This Program is also responsible for the financing support of school-based projects, for the organisation of Seminars, Debates and Meetings on the use of ICT with Educational purposes and for the publication of studies on teachers’ use of ICT in schools, on the influence of ICT in students’ learning quality, and on the use of ICT in in-service teacher training, etc.

It’s also due to the Nónio Program to co-ordinate at a national level Portuguese participation in international projects such as “European Schoolnet”, “eSchola”, “PICTTE”, “Netd@ys”, “ENIS”, “RTEE”, ...

Under this Program several national calls for projects have been launched with a view to encourage the production of digital educational tools (for example: sites, educational software, curriculum support materials).


The Program’s portal ( is a reference in what concerns the use of ICT in several fields and under different forms. It provides information on teacher training, research, national and international projects, educational software, legislation and documentation, reports, studies and statistics.




Ciência Viva   Program



Ciência Viva Program “was created as a unit of the Ministry of Science and Technology by Rule no. 6/MCT/96, June 1st, 1996, having been assigned the task of supporting activities targeted to the promotion of scientific and technological education in Portuguese society, mainly focusing on juvenile populations and basic and secondary education students. In July 1998 it became Ciência Viva Association having several scientific research Institutes as members, besides the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT).

“Ciência Viva was established as an open programme (...) calling upon three fundamental action tools:

·         Ciência Viva elected the school as its intervention priority, focusing its efforts on strengthening the experimental teaching of science and on mobilising the scientific community and its institutions to work towards the improvement of scientific education. For this purpose three main lines of action were launched: An yearly national project competition (a) in the field of scientific education; a programme Fostering the twinning between schools and scientific institutions; a programme for the scientific occupation of teenagers in labs and research units.

·         A National Network of Ciência Viva Centres, designed as interactive spaces aimed at creating science awareness among the population. (b)

·         National scientific awareness campaigns, encouraging the creation of science associations and providing the population with the opportunity to make scientific observations and to establish a direct and personal contact with experts in different knowledge fields. Among these campaigns the following stand out:  The Science and Technology Week, which takes place every year in November; Ciência Viva in Summer where the following main initiatives stand out, Astronomy during the Summer; Geology during the Summer, and Biology during the Summer, which take place in July, August and September.


(a) Lately 700 to 800 projects have been yearly approved. In the database there are 271 projects among which 271 might be related to the 1st cycle of Basic Education and 33 related to Pre-School Education.

(b) “The Ciência Viva Centres (...) established all over the country operate as regional scientific, cultural and economic development platforms, calling upon the most active participants in these regions.”


Other activities and initiatives deserve being highlighted:

Ciência Viva promotes Forums, Debates and Meetings about Science and Technology as a way to disseminate, debate and reflect about the projects’ activities.

Ciência Viva is also the national co-ordinator of Portuguese participation in international scientific and technological projects involving schools, teachers and students such as “Physics on Stage 1999, 2000, 2002”; “Trends in Science Education: a communication project”: “Heath in the XXI century: a view from European youths”; “Portuguese Discoveries and Inventions 2001-2002”; “Genome 2001, 2002, 2003”; “Latitude & Longitude - Measuring Instruments”; “Science and the Risk”; “Science and Space”;  “European Discoveries”; “Pulsar”.

This Program also sponsors science publications, the collection “Campo das Ciências”, of which some examples are mentioned: “Vale a pena ser cientista?” (2002) by Jorge Massada, Campo das Letras  – This book comprises four interviews to Portuguese internationally renowned scientists, António Coutinho, Alexandre Quintanilha, Arsélio Pato de Carvalho e Sobrinho Simões, who have directed the first four Scientific Research Labs linked to the State. In the interviews, these scientists justify the statement that being a scientist in Portugal is worthwhile. Besides, their testimonies will surely constitute an incentive to young people wishing to follow a career related to science.

It should also be stressed that Ciência Viva site ( is an excellent resource in the support to scientific and technological education, comprising links to sites of Science and Technology Centres and Museums and support materials (script, image, software and video).




 uARTE – Program Internet in School





uARTE (1997) - Educational Telematics Network Support Unit – has been assigned the mission to monitor the Program Internet in School through joint promotion of:

  • the production of scientific and technological contents to make available through the Network;
  • telematics activities in schools;
  • new forms of interaction and partnership among the different education partners.


“PIE - Program Internet in School (October 1996) comes from the initiative Internet within the framework of the Green Paper for the Information Society in Portugal (1997), namely its 4th chapter Informed School.

Under the Program framework, schools have been equipped with a multimedia computer with connection to the Internet located in school libraries, thus promoting teachers’ and pupils' access to information: with the CD-ROM, via Internet, making materials produced by schools available to others, and promoting communication between the scientific community and schools and others.

 “Presently, PIE constitutes a scientific knowledge network embedding over 11.000 schools and other institutions.” In December 2001, “all state schools were connected or in the process of connection, totalising 10 556 schools, 1781 from the 5th to the 12th grades (Program’s 1st phase), 8775 schools from the 1st cycle of Basic Education (Program’s 2nd phase).”



3.2-Research Projects


· LOGO in Pre-school Education. Evaluation of some cognitive features driven from the programming activity


Guilhermina Miranda

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science of the University of Lisbon

Master Thesis



The use of computers with educational purposes has been a particularly outstanding movement in Portugal from 1985 onwards with the launching of the Minerva Project.

In this process, computers, previously confined to university and preparatory and secondary education, have finally been introduced in primary and pre-school education.

The introduction of computers in pre-school education is due to the assumption that children’s use of computers during pre-school education would contribute to familiarize them with this kind of technology thus preparing them to live their own forth-coming routine.

According to this researcher, computers were introduced in pre-school education, and in other levels likewise, as teaching and learning supporting tools. In some schools they have been used to develop basic skills, such as reading and calculation; in others it has been used to get children started in the programming activity. As for the author, in this latter use of computer resides its power to mobilise children’s cognitive activity and she further explains that children acquire reasoning techniques of the highest level such as planning, problem-solving heuristics and meta-cognition on their own thinking process. This is the dimension where present study assumes the highest importance.

The research at stake started in 1987 and constitutes the first research work on the use of computers in pre-school education in Portugal

It consisted of getting children started into the LOGO language and of the evaluation of the effects this kind of procedure would produce in them regarding their cognitive development process.

This study was carried out with five year-old children or reaching this age up to the end of December of that same year (1987) as this age range corresponds to a period of transition which is supposed to be more liable to cognitive stimulation.

Thirty children have been observed through interviews and operating observation which was followed by the setting out both of the experimental group (ten children distributed by two rooms, one of them with 20 children and the other with 21, in both cases with ages from 3 to 5) and of the group of control (ten children from a room with only 13 children all of them aged 5).

The prime purpose of this study, which assumed the form of an hypothesis, was to analyse the impact of a particular programming language in five year-olds’ cognitive development, special attention having been paid to the incidence of the experience in the logical mathematical structures present in the conservation of elementary notions, in time and space structures, and in mental representation, namely in their capacity to anticipate actions and in self-decentredness.

The dimensions evaluated were:

-         logical mathematical structuring;

-         mental image;

-         time structuring;

-         space structuring;

-         laterality.


This research allowed for the conclusion that, by and large, children from the experimental group get higher scores in post-tests in the above-mentioned dimensions. However, differences have been neither uniform nor sharp. More precisely, there have always been favourable differences in the post-test in the experimental group in what concerns the highest level (level III – operating skills) whereas the group of control have got more level I elements than the experimental group except in the case of time structuring where both got the same number. The most important developments between pre-test and post-test regarding level III occured in time structuring and in space structuring. One should bare in mind that these tests do directly assess one of the basic principles of the LOGO language: the notion of state which calls upon two undissociable elements of reality (time and space). Changes have been irrelevant as for laterality.

Summing-up, although there’s the need to proceed investigation, we could now say that getting five year-olds started in the LOGO language contributes to their cognitive development at the level of logical mathematical structures.

It should also be noticed that gender hasn’t been particularly dealt with in this study, besides, it appeared as a pointless question all along the process.




· The worksheet in Mathematical Education


M. Leonor Moreira

Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon

Master Thesis



The researcher begins by restating the importance of the Minerva project both for the introduction of computers in the classroom and for the development of educational technologies in Portugal.

Then she defines her target-population: pupils from the 2nd cycle of Basic Education. Live observation of pupils in class was the methodology adopted.

These observations elicited to conclude:

·         the introduction of the computer in the classroom produced positive effects in Science and Maths learning;

·         the use of computer proved being useful all along the learning process;

·         the use of computer was effective in positive discrimination initiatives;

·         pupils’ satisfaction is evident in the lessons where the computer is used;

·         it motivates pupils’ desire to know the research outcomes in each subject-matter;

·         there are no significant differences in pupils’ learning as far as gender is concerned;

·         in the use of computer by groups of pupils, the introduction of computer also proves effective, there having been no gender differences in this case as well in what respects learning progress.




· Evaluation of the training needs of teachers integrated in Minerva Project Computer School Centres in Schools from the district of Viana do Castelo


José Henrique da Costa Portela

Institute of Education of the University of Minho

Master Thesis



Under the assumption that a major condition for the development of a training programme is trainees’ commitment and participation in its design, the researcher carried out a study aiming at:

·         describing personal and professional characteristics of teachers from the Minerva Project Computer School Centres in the district of Viana do Castelo (CEI-M);

·         evaluating the training needs perceived by these teachers according to previously selected themes of a pedagogical and computing nature;

  • collecting these teachers’ opinions regarding a pool of previously selected reasons that might justify the introduction and use of computers in schools.


In this study, the researcher sent a questionnaire to all the teachers of 2nd and 3rd cycle schools belonging to the Minerva project in the district of Viana do Castelo getting 82% of return rate. In addition, he conducted individual interviews to 15 out of the 71 teachers constituting the sample.

The outcomes of this study revealed that the majority of teachers are men, less than 35 years old, with a “licenciado” degree, performing the teaching activity for at least 10 years, contracted in a permanent basis, but only a small number possess a computer of their own.

The great majority of respondents stated the need for teacher training in themes related to pedagogy including those falling back upon the use of a computer.

The majority of teachers agreed that computers have been introduced in schools with the following purposes:

·         monitoring new teaching methods;

·         encouraging learning and enhancing students’ motivation;

·         making administrative and management tasks more effective;

·         fostering teachers’ routine tasks;

·         giving economically deprived children an equal chance in the access to ICT


However, respondents do still doubt about the importance of computer as for school success and they add that there’s a need to continue experimentation for a longer period to be sure about this.

As a result from the interviews’ analysis some features can be highlighted:

·         negative: the usual training programmes on ICT are not appealing to teachers;

·         positive: the presence of computer in class brings about educational change in the teaching and learning process; computer has been effective in positive discrimination initiatives; lessons using the computer are more interesting; when pupils work with the computer, individual satisfaction gets higher.


It should also be mentioned that this research does not indict any distinctions in the opinions and computer use in terms of gender.



· Learning Natural Science in Childhood Education: interaction of primary and secondary socialisation processes


Maria José Gonçalves da Câmara

Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon

Master Thesis


This study has been carried out in Kindergartens with children aged five. The guiding issue in this study was “Does school/pedagogical practice exert an amplifying or minimising function in inequalities gendered by diverse primary socialisation processes?”

The researcher elected as variables: primary socialisation (family); secondary socialisation (school); gender; school location (geographic location).

The observations focused on teacher-pupil interaction and elicited the conclusion that there are differences in children’s capacity to build up a text and understand information, these differences being dependent on gender and social origin.

Therefore, the researcher came to the conclusion that, as far as gender might be considered:

·         girls from the middle and high working classes are the ones being able to build a “legitimate” text from the very beginning;

·         after individualised teaching, both boys and girls from a high social-economical stratus have revealed difficulties in building up a “legitimate” text;

·         Among pupils from the highest working class, boys are the ones who can build up a “legitimate” text whereas in the lowest working class girls are the ones that can do it.

Summing up, the researcher states:


·         Middle class children regardless of gender are socialised likewise in family. That’s why they get similar performance rates after having been made aware of the context;

·         On the contrary, in what concerns the working classes, children are submitted to diverse socialisations. That’s why previously acquired ideas persist in their way of thinking, thus influencing subsequent performing levels.


·Science discourse in the context of science in the 1st cycle of Basic Education: the influence of family and school factors


Margarida Rebelo dos Santos Silveira

Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon

Master Thesis



This study was undertaken in two Basic Education schools, 4th grade, reaching out to 62 children of both genders (31 boys and 31 girls) and respective mothers.

One of the guiding issues of this research was inquiring whether there’s any difference in reacting and discourse building in function of gender and social origin.

By and large, the research outcomes suggest that both girls and boys recognise that the school context requires a discourse based on context transcendent significance.

Differential assignment of responses in function of gender and scientific theme shows that girls are the ones that recognise the school context the most and that this recognition is higher whenever issues dealt with are related to hygiene and health.

On the other hand, the researcher comes to the conclusion that, in terms of valuation attributed to official discourse, the social and economic level is highly determinant in girls’ rather than in boys’ discourse, girls being the ones using conceptual knowledge the most in their responses.

Girls’ closer proximity to their mothers allows to suggest that this appropriation results from the fact of girls being more socialised at home, facing small domestic roles, assuming and performing roles that allow them to better respond, in learning contexts, to issues linked to environment and hygiene and health above all.

Finnally, it should also be mentioned that in the lowest social stracta girls get closer to boys in valuing the official discourse whereas in higher classes girls are better than boys in this matter.

Broadly speaking, it can be stated that gender influences discourse valuing, girls being the ones that most value it.




· Teacher Training of Basic Education Teachers in the context of Educational Technology in the District of Braga – a contributionfor a new conception of school


Fernanda Martins Vieira da Rocha

Institute of Education and Psychology of the University of Minho

Master Thesis



These were the research aims:

·         To understand to what extent new technologies are used in Basic Education;

·         To know teachers’ opinions about the use of new technologies.


This inquiry by quest comprised 114 teachers of both genders, from 39 1st cycle schools and 13 2nd and 3rd cycle schools in the district of Braga.

As a result from the work undertaken, the researcher concluded that:

·         The majority of teachers show a positive attitude towards the integration of ICT, specially those aged from 35 to 40;

·         The majority of teachers do not use new technologies in classroom context;

·         Teachers prevailingly use computer and video;

·         Teachers consider that training is indispensable for the use of audiovisual equipment and computer;

·         Certain teachers’ indifference towards the use of new technologies in classroom comes both from lack of equipment in schools and from unawareness as for the advantages driven from the use of new technologies.

Finally, it should be stressed that this research did not indict significant differences of opinion and teaching practice regarding gender.




·The influence of teacher training in ICT in teachers from the 1st and 2nd cycles of Basic Education in the district of Viana do Castelo


Manuela Maria Oliveira Enes

Institute of Education of the University of Minho

Master Thesis


The study elected as target population teachers from the 1st and 2nd cycles of Basic Education in the district of Viana do Castelo. The following documents have been used: study plans of initial teacher education in Universities and Higher Schools of Education; in-service teacher education programmes; and Schools Associations’ training schedules. In addition to the analysis of these documents, the researcher conducted questionnaires to schoolteachers.

The aim of the study was to determine teachers’ performing patterns regarding the use of audiovisual and computer devices in classroom context.

The author inquired about the influence of the use of audiovisual in teacher performance, such as video, overhead projector, camera and computer, also seeking to understand whether the use of new technologies in initial teacher education influences their use in classroom context.

From the research undertaken, the author came to the conclusion that:

·         Teachers prepared for the use of new technologies get higher scores in the use of audiovisual and computer means in classroom;

·         The most used means are the traditional audiovisuals (overhead projector, audiotape, slide projector);

·         The least used means in both cycles are the recent technologies (computer; data-show; electronic encyclopaedia; multimedia documents, database, etc.).

·         The gender category exerts a weak influence in the use in classroom context of audiovisual and informatics means among teachers from both cycles and with preparation in ICT during their initial teacher education.




· Project “Clube de Ciência”


Bairro dos Lóios Community Development Centre

Co-ordenator: Cristina Laranjo

“Clube de Ciência” is a community development project aiming at promoting school success assuming itself as a complement for formal school learning.

Its a project destined to young people from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles of Basic Education, operating in a post labour regime simultaneously aiming at consolidating learning, combating failure, and decreasing school drop-outs.

 This project has been operating for the last three years being targeted to:

·         Promoting cultural activities and animation and juvenile mobilisation activities having science as the core theme;

·         Enhancing closeness among local population groups;

·         Mobilise Community Actors’ participation in the design, development and evaluation of projects of their interest;

·         Encourage and enhance skills liable to be transferred to other fields: to be able to inquire, find the answers; raise the questions;

·         Encourage observation and the desire to know more.


This project is eminently practical, placing children and young adolescents in the role of scientists and researchers in an informal way. It intends to make possible to work science under an attractive and informal way developing greater interest in knowledge quest.

Having lab and daily problem solving experiences as a basis, one tries to discuss concepts, design processes, and understand change within the scope of natural science, physics and chemistry.

Experiences carried out aim at:

·         Enhancing competences such as manipulation, inquiry, the right to attempt and to make mistakes; observation and checking;

·         Stimulating curiosity and quest for answers, trust in each one’s capacity to consolidate and build up knowledge without discouraging before the first doubt, difficulty or disappointment.


This project has been a success as the number of young people enrolled has been increasing as well as the variety and quantity of initiatives.

 When participation in the Club was analysed in function of gender, in a first phase, no significant differences have been detected. However, an in-depth analysis shows that girls participate more than boys in almost all the activities in the Club and in the Bairro dos Lóios Centre except for sport activities.




· “Research on ECEC


OECD Country Note Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Portugal, January 2000


78. Research in ECEC is still scarce but several Portuguese researchers have international reputations in the field. The pioneer research developed in the 1980s conducted by Bairrão and his team at the Oporto University is continuing, primarily in the key policy area of early intervention. The Lisbon School of Education has a research unit funded by the state and is developing research around curriculum, early development, and quality issues. The  Departamento da Educação Básica has translated and adapted the Effective Early Learning (EEL) materials (developed by Centre for Research in Early Childhood at University College Worcester, UK) and is now training teacher educators throughout the country to adapt and disseminate a model of quality evaluation and improvement among early childhood professionals working in all three networks of jardins de infância. The University of Minho, through IEC (Institute of Child Studies), has several projects such as: Projecto Infância, Associação Criança, PIIP (Project for Child Intervention in Portugal), CEDIC (Documentation and Information Centre on Children), etc. The recently established cross-institution GEDEI association (Grupo de Estudos para o Desenvolvimento daEducação de Infância or Study Group for Child Education and Development) is preparing the first issue of a research journal in early childhood education that will cover children from birth to the end of the first cycle of basic education (to be released in January 2000). These and other projects will no doubt begin to build a much needed critical mass of Portuguese researchers in early childhood. The Aga Khan and the Gulbenkian Foundations have been influential in funding research in this area. “(pp.24, 25).



· “Equality of opportunity for women


OECD Country Note Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Portugal, January 2000



27. Throughout the 20th century, and particularly during the 1960s, Portuguese women have made huge strides in gaining equality of opportunity and status, through greater access to education and the labour market. The subsequent arrival of democracy reinforced notions of equality; women’s rights are explicitly protected within the 1976 Constitution, and recent legislation (1997 Constitution, article 59) foresees the conciliation between family and professional life. Women’s achievement at university level has been dramatic. In 1997, women represented 59.7% of all graduates under the age of 30 years of age.

There are some small gender differences in the subjects chosen to be studied at initial graduate level, but it is interesting that gender stereotyping is confronted in data on PhD choice. Between 1960 and 1990, 42% of PhD students in Exact and Natural Sciences were women and only 29.9% in Social and Human Sciences. There is less evidence of achievement by women outside the university sector, and, as in most developed countries, there is still evidence of men with similar qualifications earning higher salaries than women and covert ceilings at the highest levels to women’s promotion. Although while female labour force participation rates are high, average earnings remain the lowest in the European Union (EC Childcare Network, 1996).


28. Along with this educational achievement, women have gained greater access to the labour market in recent years. It is important to note that unlike many other European countries, mothers with young children in Portugal tend to work full-time. In 1993, 63% of mothers with young children worked more than 20 hours a week - the highest proportion of full-time employed mothers in the European Union (EC Childcare Network, 1996). One consequence of this trend is that there is a large parental demand for early childhood arrangements with long opening hours to accommodate the schedules of full-time working parents. A second consequence is that as women’s economic and social status improve, they face even greater pressures to reconcile work and family responsibilities.


29. Despite the progress attained in the spheres of education and employment, women are still viewed as the main link for children between home and pre-school. There remains a cultural perception, even amongst women themselves that a mother’s primary role should be to care for her children and family, particularly for infants and toddlers. Perhaps because of this societal perspective, there is a significant lack of centre-based services for children between birth and three years of age. Men are generally viewed as financial providers not carers and educators and, though there have been attempts by the Commission for Equality and the Family to address the issue through the media, there is not parity in sharing the responsibilities and demands in family life. There are virtually no men involved in the professional care or education of young children, reinforcing these traditional division of gender roles.” (pp10,11)





· Educational Technologies in Pre-school context


Vito Carioca

Public Lesson in order to obtain the rank “Professor Coordenador” of Educational Sciences / Educational Technology, December

Higher School of Education of Beja


In his Public Lesson, Vito Carioca, stated:

· In what concerns pre-school syllabus guidelines (pp. 1-2)

 “Issues like media education, new forms of language and the understanding of it (e.g. informatics/multimedia discourse), become therefore unavoidable reflection and training fields, assumed from pre-school education onwards as the first basic education step in the process of lifelong learning in a logic framed by psycho-pedagogical development theories which, in essence, take as assumption the need for “fostering children’s global development respecting their individual characteristics including the attitudes that favour significant and distinctive learning”2 and for  “developing expression and communication through multiple languages as means of interaction, information, introduction to aesthetics and understanding of the word  ”3. Therefore the emergence is assumed, on the one hand, of a critical attitude towards media discourses from Pre-school Education onwards, and, on the other hand, of the importance of these technologies as forms of language that allow for diversified learning opportunities.”


·         In what concerns its relationship with Teacher Training (p. 4):


“However, Ponte and Serrazina study (1998), whose aim was to provide a general X-ray of teacher training in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in initial teacher education programmes in Portugal, evidenced that Pre-school Education is the level where ICT are least used, according to the following table:



Credits from disciplines specially dedicated to ICT or strongly using ICT or where the use of ICT for educational purposes is expected, per type of course / teaching level (average number of credits per course)


Type of course/Teaching level


Pre-school teachers

1st cycle

2nd cycle

3rd cycle and secondary

Disciplines specially dedicated to ICT









Other disciplines that strongly use ICT or plan the use of ICT with educational purposes













Source: Ponte, J. e Serrazina, L. (1998)”



· In what concerns the attitudes of Pre-school Education teachers (p. 5):


“On the other hand, Carioca study (1998) [Validation of a scale of teacher attitudes concerning the introduction of ICT in their in-service training.  Doctorate Thesis presented to the University of Extremadura (Spain), in January], whose aim was the validation of a scale of teacher attitudes concerning the introduction of ICT in their in-service training, proved that:

·         Pre-school Education Teachers evidence more favourable attitudes than 2nd and 3rd cycle teachers towards presumable professional benefits (direct benefits, in their relationship with pupils and with the system), which, in their opinion, might result from in-service teacher processes in the context of the use of ICT with educational purposes;

·         These teachers equally show the most favourable attitudes in terms of expectations towards training processes in this matter;

·         Teachers from this teaching level reveal greater anxiety before the computer (they manifest fear, apprehension, hope when they plan to interact or when they interact with the computer) which is justifiable by the fact of possessing greater expectations;

·         Because they are the ones that most feel the need for training, these teachers, mostly women, evidence greater receptivity and openness to training as they consider it rather useful in professional terms.


Scenarios indict two strands of analysis: on the one hand, a dichotomic relationship between the logics of the supporting legislation, which implicitly assumes the introduction of a technological “culture” in Pre-school in the context of learning innovating patterns, and practice and actual organisational operating matrixes in this teaching level; on the other hand, a clear predisposition from teachers of this level towards the use of technology in learning and teaching environments.”







Education Reform Law (1986). Law nº 46/86, of  October 14th (The Bases for the Educational System).


Pre-School Education Law (1997). Law nº 5/97, of 10 February (Pre-School Education Framework Law).


Early Childhood Teacher Training (1997) Law 115/97 of September 19th (Introduces changes in the Bases for the Educational System).


Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-school Education (1997) Rule no. 5220/97





Martins, Isabel, P. e Veiga, M.ª Luísa (1999) Uma Análise do Currículo da Escolaridade Básica na Perspectiva da Educação em Ciências, Instituto de Inovação Educacional.


Ministério da Educação, Departamento da Educação Básica (1998). Early Childhood Education in Portugal, Lisboa, Departamento da Educação Básica.


Ministério da Educação, Departamento da Educação Básica (2000). Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Portugal. Lisboa, Departamento da Educação Básica.


Ministério da Educação, Departamento da Educação Básica (2001). Currículo Nacional do Ensino Básico, Competências Essenciais Lisboa, Departamento da Educação Básica. (Decision no  21/2001 of September).



Sites )

(MINERVA Project Evaluation Report(1994)

(Nónio-XXI Century Program)

(Ciência Viva Program)

(uARTE – Program Internet in School)


( –

(Green Paper for the Information Society)




Universidade de Lisboa
Faculdade de Psicologia de Ciencias
Da Educacao
Alameda da Universidade
P 1649-013