Why Do We Teach Science, Anyway? The Democratic Argument

There are at least two interpretations that emerge when we explore why we teach science from the democratic argument.   The first interpretation is that we should be teaching science to help students become informed citizens in an increasingly technocratic and scientific world, and provide them with the tools to intelligently discuss, vote on, and make decisions about “modern life, politics and society.” (Turner, p. 10.)  But we also interpret the democratic argument in the context of democratic schools–that is schools in which students and teachers participate equally in shared decision-making on matters related to the organization of school, the curriculum and related matters.… Read more

Paradigm shifts: Education about, in and for the environment

Education about, in, and for the environment represent three different paradigms useful in helping us view environmental education and environmental science programs and activities.  Based on research by Rachel Michel (1996), these three paradigms can briefly be described as follows:

  • Education about the environment is viewed as an approach in which information about the environment (concepts, facts, information) is transmitted by teacher to students. This approach reinforces traditional methods of teaching including lectures, reconstructive laboratory activities, and the recall of information.
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Hot, Flat, and Crowded: A Revolutionary Paradigm of Teaching for Energy and Environment

In a democracy, there are differing views on how the government and industry should deal with energy, energy sources, and the environment.  I’ve visited the American Presidency Project, and there you can read the complete platforms of the Democrats and Republicans.  You have to go the Libertarian Party and the Green Party websites to read their platforms.  You might set up a project where your students visit these websites, and extract the respective party’s positions on energy, the environment, and science research. … Read more