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

Curriculum Development & Research
This page provides information about research and development regarding the STEPWISE framework. Associated with our R&D, we can conduct free workshops and presentations. If you have any comments, questions, etc. about the project, please write to me.

STEPWISE R&D Approaches
The overall goal of the STEPWISE framework is to encourage and enable students to use their science &/or technology education for the common good. In practice, that often translates into using their education (and findings from their own primary [e.g., correlational studies] and secondary research [e.g., internet searches]) to design and implement plans of action to address STSE issues. Although there is plenty of justification for promoting such activism through school science and technology, it is still relatively rare in schools. There is, therefore, considerable need for research and development to realize these goals. The STEPWISE team is involved, therefore, in both development of resources for teachers and research into processes of development and implementation. Related to both general approaches below, we also can conduct free professional development workshops and lectures.

We work with small teams of teachers and/or student-teachers to co-develop instructional resources based on the STEPWISE framework and/or project's teaching & learning sequence (refer, also, to the schematic below). Teachers or student-teachers wishing to join or form teams for this work are invited to download our recruitment flyer and contact me about their interests.
The STEPWISE R&D team has developed several resources that teachers or student-teachers can use, in exchange for feedback on their effectiveness. Resources include:
Inquiry-based STSE Action Projects
  • Backgrounder [PDF]: provides rationale and teaching methods;
  • Skills Apprenticeship: lessons & student activities for 'skills' like experiment & study design, graphing, activism;
  • Research-Action Modules: lesson ideas & student activities for promoting research-based STSE actions (Gr7 Heat; Gr8 Water Systems; G9 Electricity; Gr10 Chemistry; Gr10 Climate Change; G10 'Water Quality'; Gr11 Physiology; G12 Homeostasis).
STSE-based 'Content' Education
We mainly have developed a set of 'case methods.' These are student activities associated with case documentaries of various STSE issues; including: Blood Diamonds; Cars; Cell Phones; Fuel Cells; GMO Foods; GMO Crops; Green Plastics; Invasive Species; Malaria; Nanotechnologies; Plate Tectonics; Vioxx (drug)
To inquire about receiving any of these resources in exchange for providing us with feedback on their use (via the project wiki), contact me at: larry.bencze@utoronto.ca
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Generally, our research aim is to understand the nature and extent of STSE actions that are feasible and factors influencing implementation of instructional strategies promoting STSE actions. We also hope to use theories, such as actor network theory, to explain relationships among factors and STSE action outcomes. Recently, that has translated into a focus on elements depicted in the schematic for STEPWISE-influenced teaching & learning below:

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