ERIC Number: EJ759942
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Inquiry, Instrumentalism, and the Public Understanding of Science
Rudolph, John L.
Science Education, v89 n5 p803-821 Sep 2005
Two seemingly complementary trends stand out currently in school science education in the United States: one is the increased emphasis on inquiry activities in classrooms, and the other is the high level of attention given to student understanding of the nature of science. This essay looks at the range of activities that fall within the first trend, noting, in particular, the growing popularity of inquiry activities that engage students in engineering-type tasks. The potential for public disengagement from science and technology issues is described as a result of the continued juxtaposition of these sorts of inquiry activities with our current, idealized portrayals of the nature of science--the emphasis of the second trend. Drawing on Dewey's instrumental theory of knowledge, an alternative way of thinking about science is offered that would not only provide for a more authentic understanding of science, but also invite much needed public participation in the broad governance of science in modern-day democratic societies.
Descriptors: Educational Trends, Inquiry, Science Activities, Classroom Environment, Engineering Education, Science Education, Scientific Principles, Citizen Participation, Governance
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States