Education International, Vol. 1, No. 1, 15-18, Published in August
4th National Meeting and 1st International
Meeting on University Chemistry Teaching
Ethel Cascarini de Torre
de Inverstigaciones Fisicoquimicas, Teoricas y Aplicadas (INIFTA)
Casilla de Correo 16, Sucursal 4, RA-1900 La Plata, Argentina
1986 IUPAC sponsored the First Regional Seminar on Teaching Chemistry
Methodology, Updating and Improvement that was held at La Plata
(Argentina). The recommendations produced during the Seminar, that
was attended by specialist from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia
and Argentina; included the necessity of organizing periodic meetings
to present, analyze and discuss new ideas concerning Chemistry teaching
at the University, specially for undergraduate students.
a consequence of this Seminar, the Asociacion Quimica Argentina
(AQA) through its Chemistry Teaching Division organized the University
Chemistry Teaching Specialist Group. This Group is integrated by
recognized university professors working at different National Universities.
The main goals of this Group are to promote research in Chemistry
Teaching at the University and to publicize the work done in this
area at the Universities.
to its purposes, the Group is in charge of the organization of periodic
meetings under the name of: "Jornadas Nacionales de Ensenanza
Universitaria de la Quimica" (National Meeting on University
Chemistry Teaching). The first one has been held in 1992 at the
National University of Rosario, then in 1994 at the National University
of Buenos Aires, and in 1997 at the National University of Cordoba.
last Meeting was be at the National University of "El Litoral"
(Santa Fe, Argentina) between May 24th and 28th.
With the sponsorship of IUPAC' s CTC, the Argentinean Chemical Society
(AQA), declared of state interest by the government of Santa Fe
Province the meeting has been also registered for the International
Chemistry Celebration organized by the American Chemical Society
Dean of the Faculty of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences, Prof.
Eduardo Villareal and the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering,
Prof. Pedro Mancini, acted as Chairman of the meeting. Prof. Hector
Odetti was the Vice-Chairman and Prof. Lydia E. Cascarini de Torre
was the Honorary Chairman of the meeting. Prof. Ester Ocampo was
the chairman of the executive organizing committee. This meeting
that has been the first major event in which the AQA's Regional
Delegation has been involved showed the projection of AQA's activities
in the country. Among other very well known professors from Europe
and America the President and Secretary
of IUPAC's CTC, Professors John Bradley and Hans Bouma have attended
meeting was organized around Plenary Lectures and Round Tables all
held in a beautiful scenery provided by the "Paraninfo Room"
of the University a place very deeply related to the history of
Argentina since it has been the place where the country Constitution
has been voted. The meeting activities were complemented with poster
exhibitions, workshops and special group's discussions. More than
two hundred papers have been presented by a similar number of professors
that attended the sessions. Some selected papers were given a special
space for their presentation.
organizers planned several sections for poster presentations:
sustainable development and environment.
Chemistry and educative technologies.
Curriculum and evaluation.
School - University transition within the framework of the Educative
Teaching and Industry.
devoted to the improvement of Chemistry Teaching at the University.
of very good quality have been presented in all sections that have
been authored by university professors some of them exhibiting a
long and successful career as professors and researchers.
the Opening Ceremony the first plenary lecture was given by John
Bradley, professor of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
where he is the head of the Chemistry Education group and where
he had also developed a cooperation program (UNESCO - CTC) on microchemistry
for which he has developed a very nice experiments kit. The main
goal of this project is to promote the development of the experimental
chemistry overcoming its main problems originated in security, waste
disposal, and budget and teachers level. The kit that is designed
for individual work includes simple worksheets has been successfully
employed in developed as well as underdeveloped countries. Prof.
Bradley has performed a large number of workshops mainly in countries
with low resources with the aim of revitalize the education in chemistry.
His lecture attracted the attention of such a number of attendants
that a workshop was organized to show the use and to explore some
of the possibilities of the experiment kit. The kit is commercialized
by Somerset Educational - Crewe- Brown Av. Somerset East 5850, Republic
of South Africa.
second plenary lecture was given by Prof. Hans Bouma who discussed
a very interesting topic that belongs to science philosophy: "Tension
between Religion and Science: Hostile Environments". He said
among other things that "Between (Christian) religion and the
sciences regularly clashes have been observed, ostensibly flashes
of lightning as a consequence of tension built up between both fields.
A very early and notorious case is the clerical lawsuit against
Galileo in 1633. But vehement discussions also took place e.g. regarding
the age of the earth, the evolution theory which still is a bone
of contention in some of the United States, and the future of the
universe, just to mention a few examples". During his lecture
he has presented the positions of scientists and theologists. As
a consequence of experience and based on the fact that both use
different languages, he concluded that both science and religion
should follow parallel paths and never cross.
Marisa Garcia and Maria Grompone presented a very careful and practiced
lecture on a subject that they entitled: "Chemistry Education
and Industry: Short University Carreers with Technological Profile".
Within the framework of a Program for Technical Enhancement, financed
by the Interamerican Development Bank (BID), they carried out interviews
with professionals working at the most representative industries
of their country, Uruguay. Once they had defined the required profile
they elaborated a two step proposal. The first should take place
at the secondary school level. In Uruguay people attend the technological
secondary school between 16 and 18 years old. A basic group of courses
aimed to provide a basic education has been planned. These courses
are followed by a second group aimed to provide a basic scientific
education including the acquisition of habits and hands-on experience.
At the end of this stage the student is prepared to perform tasks
as laboratory assistant. The second step, two years, completes the
profile of a chemical technologist producing a laboratorist with
a certain degree of specialization in different areas of industry.
This step is in charge of the Consejo de Educacion Tecnica and the
Faculty of Chemistry of the University "De La Republica".
The plan was started in 1997 and the authors are confident on the
success of this new educative offer, which implies a conceptual
change in technical education in Uruguay. They also believe that
it could contribute to improve the relationship between education
and industry and at the same time it could serve as model for the
Miriam Medina Mesa developed an interesting subject that she entitled:
"Improvement of Curricular Activity for Teaching Chemistry
as a Basic Science: Challenge and Necessity". She took as example
the design of Chemistry as a discipline for careers to which this
science is basic.
last two lectures have been given by professors from Spain. Prof.
Manuela Martin Sanchez, University "Complutense", and
Prof. Juan Ignacio Pozo, University "Autonoma", both from
Madrid. Prof. Martin Sanchez lectured on the subject: "Experimental
work in Chemistry Teaching at Non-University Levels". She began
in Henry Bent's line that states that the closest to an ideal situation
is the search for equilibrium among all the possibilities. She cited
several phrases that consider equilibrium as the path to perfection.
This idea has been cited by Apollo's oracle at Delfos and a large
number of images engraved in stone that can be found at the University
of Salamanca. She considered the lack of equilibrium as very dangerous
in Chemistry teaching and cited as example the argument between
knowledge and skill. She studied the importance of experimental
work as something that must be a part of other works. She supported
her ideas on Bent's arguments particularly when she quoted him:
"To try that a student comprehend chemistry without experiments
is like to try that a blind person could comprehend the color concept".
In addition to its usefulness to learn chemistry, experiments are
very important for the education and formation of students at the
elementary level because they develop observation skills that are
very useful for all citizens. She ended her lecture showing some
overhead projector and low cost experiments.
Pozo lectured on the contribution of psychology to the change in
chemistry education. He said that present times, where there is
a growing necessity of curricular adaptation at all educative stages,
new ways of educating, new goals and new contents are needed. To
achieve these goals it is necessary to employ recent results obtained
with the psychology of the learning process.
professors that teach chemistry professors had a meeting where they
discussed the problems and made interesting proposals to continue
the discussion in future editions of this meeting.
must be noted that the interest showed by university professors
and the quality of the presentations are indicating the growing
importance that education is acquiring. Professors from almost all
the universities of Argentina attended the meeting together with
a large delegation from different countries from the region (Brazil,
Chile, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay).
attendance of distinguished professors from Holland, South Africa
and Spain contributed to the discussions of important topics and
to establish contacts tending to a deeper integration with other
Latinamerica regions. The meeting also provide an adequate background
to discuss new solutions to the problems encountered in the everyday
practice of chemistry teaching. The local organization that has
been excellent could be appreciated during the entire meeting. A
very nice welcome dinner and a local choir performance and the delicious
"alfajores" contributed to have three days full of friendship.
the Closing Ceremony CTC's President congratulated the organizers
and expressed his satisfaction because the CTC has been involved
in the event. It was also announced that the next venue of the meeting
will be Montevideo, Uruguay, on the year 2001, and that its organization
is in charge of Prof. Grompone, Garcia, Rodriguez Ayan and Miguez,
all from the University of "La Republica".