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

Curriculum Vitae

Bencze, J.L. (2007). Scaffolding students towards self-directed science inquiry projects. Alberta Science Education Journal, 38(2), 24-30.

Educational systems often orient students’ science education toward learning about the many products (such as laws, theories and inventions) of professional science and technology. Such an orientation can compromise students’ opportunities to develop more comprehensive literacy related to science and technology—including the skills, attitudes and pre-instructional expertise students possess for conducting independent (although collaborative) science inquiry projects on topics of interest to them. This article discusses a field-tested framework for scaffolding students’ development of expertise they could use in conducting their own inquiries, in the context of specific examples and freely available resources. Based on constructivist learning theory, the framework involves students in expressing their pre-instructional expertise relating to science inquiry before being tutored in various concepts of evidence frequently used by scientists to develop knowledge. The benefits of student-led inquiry projects that could follow apprenticeship lessons and activities are many and varied. Nevertheless, continued efforts are needed in order to overcome various barriers to widespread student-led science inquiry. Readers of this article may take various innovative approaches to achieving this goal.

Return to C.V.