PROTEIN STRUCTURE: A OBSTACLE TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF BIOCHEMICAL PROCESSES FOR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS

S. L. Menezes, B. B. Torres

Resumo


Biochemistry underlays many subjects taught in high school but most teachers
lack enough biochemical bases to explore them properly. To investigate their alternative
conceptions we have applied the distance course Biochemistry of Drugs to public school
teachers, with class load of 30 hours and six modules: Statistics and basic concepts;
Marijuana; Tobacco; Inhalants; Alcohol; Legalization vs Criminalization. The conceptions
were analyzed through the course records and the most important was the lack of
knowledge on the protein chemical structure, which impaired the comprehension of
proposed molecular mechanisms (involving receptors, neurotransmitters, enzyme
inhibition, etc.). Several interventions promoted the overcoming of many misconceptions
as detected by written tests on chemical nature of involved compounds; neurotransmission
mechanism and the role of drugs in neurotransmission. Among 63 questions only 10 had
less than 50% correct answers. The teachers’ performances were impaired by reading
difficulties and poor scientific background that difficult their distinction of facts and scientific
models from common sense or personal opinion. The teachers’ and the course staff
evaluations were highly positive. Most of them declared that their knowledge was amplified
and that they would recommend this course to colleagues. They also were favorably
surprised with the deep level of the topics, the demanded dedication and the fact that the
course was addressed to themselves instead of to their students.

Palavras-chave


protein structure; biochemical processes; high school

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.16923/reb.v5i2.106

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