All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Changing Practice: Toward Scientific Literacy
Unformatted Document Text:  Changing Practice: Toward Scientific Literacy Statement of the issue: Learning science content knowledge cannot be separated from the skills and abilities necessary to understand scientific concepts. This combination of knowledge and understanding is often described in detail as the “science literacy” that educators, policy makers and scientists would like to see students demonstrate. In an issue of Daedalus devoted to scientific literacy twenty years ago, A.B. Arons enumerated twelve abilities that a person who has acquired scientific literacy will possess (Arons, 1983). This list included skills such as being able to recognize that scientific concepts are invented or created by acts of human intelligence and imagination and are not objects accidentally discovered. A scientifically literate person should be able to recognize that to be understood and correctly used; terms for scientific concepts require careful operational definition, rooted in shared experience and in simpler words previously defined. A scientifically literate person should be able to recognize when questions such as “How do we know…? Why do we believe…? What is the evidence for…?” have been addressed, answered, and understood, and conversely, when something is being taken on faith (Arons, 1983). Building upon this notion the American Association for the Advancement of Science noted that a science-literate person is “one who is aware that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent human enterprises with strengths and limitations; understands key concepts and principles of science; is familiar with the natural world and recognizes both its diversity and unit; and uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for individual and social purposes” (AAAS, 1990 pg. xvii). Furthermore, the National Research Council defines scientific literacy as “the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity” (NRC, 1996 pg. 22). There is ample research evidence to demonstrate that students cannot simply read about science in order to keep pace with constantly evolving scientific knowledge. Rather, they need to do science, they need to be critically engaged in scientific texts, and they need to constantly evaluate what they observe and learn (Crawford, et al., 1999; Lederman, et al., 2002). As students do this, educators believe they become scientifically literate. To fully engage students to develop their science literacy, requires that teachers teach in ways that may be unfamiliar to them and that they have science content knowledge necessary to help them guide their students’ thinking and understanding (Loucks-Horsley and Stiles, 2001). Literature review: It is important to consider the views and beliefs of teachers on matters that impact science literacy. Several studies have shown that university students training to become teachers have views of science that do not align with what would be considered an understanding a teacher should hold. One study conducted to determine the extent to which “anti-scientific” attitudes are found among university students uncovered a startling picture (Yates and Chandler, 2000). Nearly 50% of the 232 students surveyed (202 were education majors), believe “past lives can be uncovered through hypnosis,” “star signs (astrology) can be used to analyze your personality makeup,” “certain crystals possess magical healing properties,” “extra-terrestrial craft,

Authors: Hammrich, Penny. and Myers, Michelle.
first   previous   Page 1 of 5   next   last



background image
Changing Practice: Toward Scientific Literacy
Statement of the issue: Learning science content knowledge cannot be separated from
the skills and abilities necessary to understand scientific concepts. This combination of
knowledge and understanding is often described in detail as the “science literacy” that
educators, policy makers and scientists would like to see students demonstrate. In an
issue of Daedalus devoted to scientific literacy twenty years ago, A.B. Arons enumerated
twelve abilities that a person who has acquired scientific literacy will possess (Arons,
1983). This list included skills such as being able to recognize that scientific concepts are
invented or created by acts of human intelligence and imagination and are not objects
accidentally discovered. A scientifically literate person should be able to recognize that
to be understood and correctly used; terms for scientific concepts require careful
operational definition, rooted in shared experience and in simpler words previously
defined. A scientifically literate person should be able to recognize when questions such
as “How do we know…? Why do we believe…? What is the evidence for…?” have been
addressed, answered, and understood, and conversely, when something is being taken on
faith (Arons, 1983).
Building upon this notion the American Association for the Advancement of Science
noted that a science-literate person is “one who is aware that science, mathematics, and
technology are interdependent human enterprises with strengths and limitations;
understands key concepts and principles of science; is familiar with the natural world and
recognizes both its diversity and unit; and uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways
of thinking for individual and social purposes” (AAAS, 1990 pg. xvii). Furthermore, the
National Research Council defines scientific literacy as “the knowledge and
understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making,
participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity” (NRC, 1996 pg.
22).
There is ample research evidence to demonstrate that students cannot simply read about
science in order to keep pace with constantly evolving scientific knowledge. Rather, they
need to do science, they need to be critically engaged in scientific texts, and they need to
constantly evaluate what they observe and learn (Crawford, et al., 1999; Lederman, et al.,
2002). As students do this, educators believe they become scientifically literate. To fully
engage students to develop their science literacy, requires that teachers teach in ways that
may be unfamiliar to them and that they have science content knowledge necessary to
help them guide their students’ thinking and understanding (Loucks-Horsley and Stiles,
2001).
Literature review: It is important to consider the views and beliefs of teachers on
matters that impact science literacy. Several studies have shown that university students
training to become teachers have views of science that do not align with what would be
considered an understanding a teacher should hold. One study conducted to determine
the extent to which “anti-scientific” attitudes are found among university students
uncovered a startling picture (Yates and Chandler, 2000). Nearly 50% of the 232
students surveyed (202 were education majors), believe “past lives can be uncovered
through hypnosis,” “star signs (astrology) can be used to analyze your personality
makeup,” “certain crystals possess magical healing properties,” “extra-terrestrial craft,


Convention
All Academic Convention makes running your annual conference simple and cost effective. It is your online solution for abstract management, peer review, and scheduling for your annual meeting or convention.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 1 of 5   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.