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Science Education

The European Commission recently released Science Education NOW (.pdf) seeking to counter declining interest in science and math. A bit of a renaissance in science education is occurring – see UBC’s recent announcement. The EU report correctly highlights innovation and quality research as casualties of this decline (I should note that in my eyes the decline in interest should not be seen solely as a function of formal teaching/learning, though much of the passion of learning is no doubt eviscerated through formal processes – p. 8 lists dismal satisfaction – 15% of Europeans – with science education). The report’s emphasis on “learning by doing” is important and obvious. The broad solution proposed is of inquiry-based science education, defined as a “new pedagogy”…with high awareness, but limited actual implementation. Brief mention is also made of the importance of teachers being involved in a network (p3).

One Comment

  1. Alexa wrote:

    I must admit I was a little sad to see this report reiterating many concepts which are already well known in the science education community. It didn’t go far enough; it’s not just inquiry-based learning that should play a role. In my view, this concept needs to be embedded in a wider community-based learning approach, engaging all stakeholders (including industry, which has a strong interest in science education) and based on use of modern technologies. I remember inquiry-based learning being used at my secondary school, and only 8 out of 78 students went on to study pure science (although a lot more went to the medical professions).

    Also, we need to give environmental science and ‘science in society’ issues more prominence within science education; if this were included more strongly, we could engage more girls and young women in science.

    Finally, what about ethnic minorities? They are rather under-represented in science, and I don’t see much to address this problem.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 3:29 am | Permalink