Teachers’ science camp experiences in southern Chile: Strengthening teacher identity and continuing education

Keywords: teacher identity, teachers professional development, science camps, continuing education, teacher reflection


Science camps for teachers have been held in Chile for several years and are recognized as important opportunities for continuing education, but they have been largely ignored as instances for impactful reflection on teacher self-assessment and identity. This article presents the analysis of teacher experiences at a science camp held in southern Chile called “Explora Va!”, which was designed not just as an instance for continuing education for teachers in scientific contents but also for individual and collaborative reflection aimed at strengthening educators’ skills as agents of change in their institutions. The question of this study was: how do the participants represent their teacher identities based on their experiences at the “Explora Va!” Camp? Using a qualitative approach, the results of the analysis of narratives from teachers’ camp journals are reported here. The narratives from these journals provide an account of two dimensions, personal and contextual, where the importance of the teaching profession and science teaching were explored beyond conventional disciplinary limits. Collaboration, innovation, and personal and professional growth at the camp served to signify and resignify professional identities based on common elements but attending to the particular circumstances and unique backgrounds of each teacher.

Author Biographies

Marta Silva, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

Marta Silva Fernández: Graduate in Anthropology and Master in Communication from the Austral University of Chile, Master and Doctor in Education from the University of California Santa Bárbara. Her research areas are Cultural Perspectives in teaching science learning and STEM disciplines, system of knowledge and knowledge with a cultural perspective. Researcher in charge of the project Academic trajectories of postgraduate students belonging to indigenous peoples in state universities in central-southern Chile in science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines Folio 1117094 2017-2020, (Chilean National development and innovation agency).

Michel Parra, Universidad de Chile, Chile

Graduate in Sociology in Universidad Arturo Prat de Chile and Master in Social Studies of Science and Technology in Salamanca University in Spain. His research areas are in different topics where scientific knowledge and other knowledges meet. Researcher in evaluation of public engagement projects and programmes for different universities and research centers. Professor in a postgraduate course in Science Communication at Universidad de Chile.

Ronnie Reyes-Arriagada, PAR Explora Los Ríos, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

Marine Biologist and PhD. in Sciences is in charge of science communication program Explora Región de Los Ríos, Ministry of Sciences in Departamento de Vinculacion con el Medio, Universidad Austral de Chile. His work has been initially focused on bird conservation research in insular systems, with the scientific communication to the associated island communities. Since assuming the position in Explora in 2013, in addition to the multiple outreach activities carried out by the Program, he has conducted initiatives for public understanding of science, financed by government and non government organizations, motivated by promote the link between scientific knowledge and the community in general, as a tool to reach a better quality of life.

Jennifer Brito, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

Master of Education with a mention in Political and Educational Management, Universidad Austral de Chile. Master in Education mention Management for Educational Inclusion, Universidad Católica de Temuco. State Professor in History and Geography, Universidad De la Serena. Special Education Teacher, Degree in Education. Doctoral Student in Human Sciences, Mention in Discourse and Culture, Universidad Austral de Chile. She has worked for 14 years in the Chilean school system. Currently she is dedicated to research on educational issues, the phenomenon of aging, free practice of the profession and is a recipient of the Doctoral Scholarship of the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo de Chile, ANID/ex CONICYT, 2019. Folio 21192056.


How to Cite
Silva, M., Parra, M., Reyes-Arriagada, R., & Brito, J. (2021). Teachers’ science camp experiences in southern Chile: Strengthening teacher identity and continuing education. LUMAT: International Journal on Math, Science and Technology Education, 9(1), 397–425. https://doi.org/10.31129/LUMAT.9.1.1398