WWW Site for John Lawrence Bencze, Associate Professor, Science Education, OISE/University of Toronto

Research & Development
It is my view - and that of many colleagues, students and teachers with whom I work - that citizens need to become much more critical of practices and products of fields of science and technology (and, likely, engineering & mathematics) and, where they determine harms, develop and carry out actions to bring what they perceive to be a better world. This claim is supported by much research that indicates that goals, methods and uses of products of 'STEM' (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) fields often are compromised when in contractual relationships with capitalists - which appears to be largely facilitated through neoliberal influences on governments, who often set rules enabling capitalists to maximize profit while minimizing responsibility for harms of their activities. Such neoliberal effects on STEM fields appears to be leading to many harms to wellbeing of individuals, societies and environments. In light of such problems, I believe we must learn about education largely through action research; i.e., learning through actions intended to improve education. Accordingly, my research programme involves action research to learn more about encouraging and enabling students to develop and implement plans of action to address harms they perceive in STEM-Society-Environment relationships. A link to my current project in this regard is provided at right.

In the STEPWISE project, graduate students and I work with teachers, teacher educators, students, community group members, government personnel, etc. to encourage and learn about people's efforts to critique and modify the nature of relationships among fields of science & technology and societies & environments in ways that may bring about a better world. Some reports of our work are in my online CV. To learn more about STEPWISE, gain access to relevant resources and possibly become involved in our research, write to me at larry.bencze@utoronto.ca .