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ERIC Number: EJ868687
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
Can We Do School Science Better? Facing the Problem of Student Engagement
Turner, Steven; Peck, Debby
Education Canada, v49 n2 p54-57 Spr 2009
Every experienced teacher knows that, somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16, significant numbers of students pass from a state of enthusiasm and engagement with the study of science to a state of indifference or disdain for the subject. Today a flood of new research is revealing the sheer dimensions of the engagement problem. It shows that students' basic attitudes about science study are set very early, in most cases by age 14 or 15, and are very hard to change later. Interest and engagement are factors that strongly influence students' later decisions about pursuing elective science and going on to science-related careers. They also affect the quality of citizenship in the techno-scientific world. This article explores ways to improve student engagement in the study of science. The authors argue that the national debate over the strengths and weaknesses of school science is too obsessed with comparative rankings and economic competitiveness while ignoring the more pressing challenge of student engagement. Canadian educators and planners need to be aware of the international debates on the topic and learn from them; think more boldly about the purposes of school science and what science they want to teach; and beware of learning theories that do not adequately address the engagement problem. Science, technology, society, and environment (STSE)-oriented curricula like that of Twenty First Century Science may not be the best or the only solution for Canadian schools. But any solution to the present problems must be one that restores to school science the awe and grandeur of science's vision of the world and that can convince young people that science is central to their personal lives and to their future as citizens. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada