But, I wonder, there is not also a complementary step here, which goes
beyond science education, and that has to do with raising students'
political awareness? I guess a topic can have to do with real life and the
students might not feel its relevance. Just to illustrate, a university
example comes handy: that of the students (undergrads or grads) that perform
methodologically sound studies of whatever social issue without adopting any
practical action based on their research. One thing is to understand
polution, poverty or other, a quite different is to be disgusted by it. And,
quite beyond the initial reaction, to learn what to do with these feelings.
Wolff-Michael Roth writes:
>> It seems to me that, in order to engage students with different notions
>> of relevance, we need to relate the teaching of the topics prescribed in
>> the school curriculum to real life situations and issues that students
>> immediately recognize - or fairly readily come to recognize - as
>> significant in their current or envisaged future lives. Much of the skill
>> of the teacher lies in identifying such situations and issues in advance
>> or from listening to what students have to say when their views are
>> genuinely requested. This is what I have tried to capture in advocating
>> the approach to curriculum through 'dialogic inquiry' that involves
>> practical as well as intellectual actions.
> This is what we attempted to do in a project described in part in
> RETHINKING SCIENTIFIC LITERACY (with A. C. Barton), where we describe
> children who learn science as they followed the call of environmental
> activists to do something about a local creek. The children (7th grade)
> subsequently reported what they found at an open house organized by the
> environmentalists. The unit is interesting in the sense that parents came
> out with us, some taught, environmentalists helped out, First Nations
> people, it was a real mixing of a great variety of people.
> PS We received the AERA Div K award this year--the book also contains
> stories of people fighting for access to water, inner-city kids converting
> an abandoned lot into a garden, women teachers in Pakistan taking risks by
> teaching in different ways, for overcoming poverty.
> xmca mailing list
David D. Preiss
home page: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~ddp6/
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