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Consensuses and controversies in the consolidation of the concept of scientific literacy in Brazil

Grant number: 18/19547-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2019
Effective date (End): November 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Specific topics in Education
Principal Investigator:Rodrigo Bastos Cunha
Grantee:Rodrigo Bastos Cunha
Host Investigator: Rudiger Christian Laugksch
Host Institution: Núcleo de Desenvolvimento da Criatividade (NUDECRI). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa  


The field of scientific education in the United States had already gone through decades of discussion and interpretations about the notion of scientific literacy when the term literacy began to be used in the Brazilian academic world. The concept of scientific literacy begins to appear in Brazilian publications from the 1990's and the number of works about this subject makes a significant leap in the following decades. In Brazil, most studies adopt the term "alfabetização científica" (scientific alphabetization), but the number of papers on "letramento científico" (scientific literacy) has been growing. While a small part of the works about scientific alphabetization is supported by a bibliography from the language studies, the majority of the researchers that deal with scientific literacy in Brazil show familiarity with the discussion started in the 1980's in the language studies, which led to the consolidation of the concept of literacy in the country. This research proposes to analyze the most relevant works that deal with the notion of scientific literacy in Brazil, among the ones published in the two first decades of this century, to try finding the consensuses and the controversies in the interpretation of this concept, which political and ideological position is linked to these interpretations, and which impact they have on the model of science teaching that is being proposed or on the model of scientific popularization to a wider public, regardless of age or educational level. After this analysis, it is intended to compare the process of consolidation of the concept of scientific literacy and its impact on science teaching and science popularization in developing countries such as South Africa and India, and in developed countries such as England, the United States and Canada. (AU)

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