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Science education for scientific culture

Israel journal of plant sciences 2000 v.48 no.3 pp. 157-163
adolescents, attitudes and opinions, learning, motivation, risk, science education, students, technology, United Kingdom
This article addresses the difficult question of how to respond to modern times by changing education so that it may improve the attitudes of tomorrows citizens towards science. The paper is divided into three sections: content, motivation, and pedagogic strategies. It argues that the first of these, what content to include, cannot be resolved by lists of subject matter, however these are constructed. This is a time of unmatched acceleration in both theory and practice, which makes unequivocal verdicts on what is likely to last impossible to substantiate. About the second point, motivation, the author draws on experiences at the Open University (UK) and on studies of creativity and curiosity. The third section, pedagogic methodology, does not rely on buzz words like constructivism or active learning, however useful they may have been in the past. Instead, it argues from citizen concern about risk from the changing new technologies, that we should primarily aim to encourage students to search independently for information and then evaluate it. Such a program also has more chance of appealing to adolescents, whose immediate project is more often the exploration of self-identity than of the sciences. Searching the net can go some way to fulfilling both their aims and ours.