PISA: Can this test measure the outcomes of progressive science education

Long title, sorry.  But, Volume 46, Issue 8 (October 2009) of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching was devoted to Scientific Literacy and Context in PISA Science.  The entire issue was devoted to this theme.  In one of the articles in this volume (Scientific Literacy, PISA, and Socioscientific Discourse: Assessment for Progressive Aims of Science Education), the authors used the term progressive science education in the way George DeBoer used in many years ago to summarize movements in science teaching that included public understanding of science, humanistic science education, context-based science teaching, STS, and socioscientific issues science education.… Read more

Science Education from People for People

In a recently published book, Science Education from People to People, (Kindle edition here) the contributing authors have created a book that builds up perspectives on science, scientific literacy, and science education “grounded in the lives of real people and that are oriented toward being for real people (rather than disembodied minds.)”

In this book, the authors want “science education to be for people rather than about how knowledge gets into the heads of people–be it by means of construction, transfer, or internalization.… Read more

Transforming science teaching through social activism: Is it a viable goal?

There was a very interesting new comment made on an earlier post entitited Should science teaching be political: A Humanistic Question.  In that post I explored the ideas of researcher Wildson dos Santos, who had published an article: Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education.

In the comment made, and in the view of dos Santos, science education is challenged to rethink the nature of scientific literacy as more than simply an understanding (as measured on end-of-course and other types of high-stakes examinations) of canonical science as defined in the National Science Education Standards.… 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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Using informal learning to help students cross borders in science class

Non-school learning was a term that John Dewey used for “informal experiences” that he felt helped learners acquire attitudes, values, and knowledge from daily experiences. Many students come to science class from a cultural world-view that makes learning science much like the crossing of a cultural border. As I discussed in the last post, science teachers and researchers have explored the concept of border crossings in science education, and have suggested that there is a need to develop curriculum and instruction with the idea of border crossings in mind.… Read more

Should science teaching be political? A Humanistic Question

I could have titled this “Is science teaching political?: A Humanistic Question.” In an article (Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education) recently published in Science Education, Wildson L.P. dos Santos, of the Instituto de Quimica, Universidade de Brasilia, describes a rationale for advancing a new idea in humanistic science education developed from a Paulo Freire perspective. It relates to many discussions about humanistic science education that have been posted on this weblog, and I want to talk about the implications of dos Santos’ research.… Read more

Breaking from Tradition: Or Rediscovering Ancient Traditions

Odd title, don’t you think. According to a growing number of science educators, the science curriculum, burdened by the overwhelming influence of the Standard’s movement, and high stakes testing, is in need of reform. I know this sounds like a broken record in that since Russia launched Sputnik in 1957, the American government has supported a “state of reform.” Even with the millions of dollars that was invested in the re-design, and implementation of “new” curricula, most students did not, and are not benefiting from these NSF curriculum efforts.… Read more