ERIC Number: EJ836166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Science and Its Images--Promise and Threat: From Classic Literature to Contemporary Students' Images of Science and "The Scientist"
Koren, Pazit; Bar, Varda
Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, v40 n2 p141-163 Apr 2009
The physical and social image of the scientist among school children, student teachers, and teachers over the last 50 years was investigated. Interest has also been shown in the perception of the personality behind the physical stereotype. Nevertheless, the value judgments of science and scientists and the positive and negative mind-sets attaching to these judgments in our society were less investigated, either in Israel or abroad. In this investigation models given to science and scientists in the classical literature and by some popular science writers were investigated, together with contemporary learners' views. The populations consist of 125 high school students from Israel. Several tools were used during this investigation to decipher the images of science: Closed questionnaire, writing an essay, and semistructured collective interviews. Classical authors have pessimistic views about science and the scientists. Most models are unfavorable, and criticize the scientists: The mad and monstrous scientist ("Frankenstein"), the scientist who is alienated from human life ("The Physicists"), the scientist who is cut off from reality, the "geek" ("Gulliver's Travels"), the scientist whose irresponsible research is harmful to the environment ("Jurassic Park"), the scientist who hungers for knowledge at any cost ("Faust"). The positive images found especially in the popular science literature: the scientist who cures diseases ("Microbe Hunters"), the scientist who has professional integrity ("Galaxies"), the scientist who keeps to the rules of the scientific method to obtain objective results ("Wrinkles in Time"). We found that some expressions relating to "fear of science" which have appeared in the classics since the beginning of the 18th century were found in a similar way with students of the 21st century, while others expressed that same fear in different ways. There was also an identification with Swift's "unsociable and unemotional" scientists. Alongside the existence of expressions of fear of science, and mainly ambivalent opinions of students toward science, the dominant picture that stands out in this study is that our contemporary students are pro science, and regard science as a useful area of society.
Descriptors: Classics (Literature), Student Teachers, Student Attitudes, Foreign Countries, Scientists, Fear, Educational History, Teacher Attitudes, Personality Traits, Stereotypes, Value Judgment, High School Students, Intellectual History, Negative Attitudes, Scientific Attitudes, Scientific Enterprise
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel