ERIC Number: ED478153
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Rethinking Scientific Literacy: From Science Education as Propaedeutic to Participation in the Community.
Roth, Wolff-Michael; Lee, Stuart
A central fallacy of traditional science education is its focus on laboratory science as the touchstone against which science teaching and learning should be compared. This approach teaches students to see the world with the eyes of science rather than to build their own view of the world; it favors students becoming conformist rather than autonomous. As a consequence, the needs of diverse groups of people--except white middle-class males--have not been met, leading to their exclusion from science. A study examined science education in a coastal British Columbia town where an environmental activist group, grade 7 students, and community members were documenting water quality in a local creek. Units were designed so that students could pursue questions of their own interests and use tools of their own choice. It was found that with such an approach, the disinterest and exclusion characteristic of traditional science courses did not become an issue and that what had been considered learning disabilities in some students did not become visible. Students learned science while participating in a community effort to learn about their creek. In this way, science education provided a starting point for uninterrupted life-long learning across the boundary of formal schooling. Science educators would do well to set up situations that allow a variety of participatory modes, more consistent with a democratic approach in which people make decisions about their own lives and interests. (Contains 57 references) (TD)
Descriptors: Educational Strategies, Experiential Learning, Foreign Countries, Grade 7, Interdisciplinary Approach, Middle Schools, Relevance (Education), School Community Relationship, Science Education, Scientific Literacy, Student Motivation, Student Projects, Water Quality
For full text: http://www.educ.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/conferences/CONF2001/AERJSciLit.pdf.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada