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

Curriculum Vitae
REFEREED ARTICLE ABSTRACTS

Bencze, L., Hewitt, J., Pedretti, E., Yoon, S., Perris, K., & van Oostveen, R. (2003a). Science-specialist student-teachers consider promoting technological design projects: Contributions of multi-media case methods. Research in Science Education, 33(2), 163-187.

In school science, students often experience simplistic representations of knowledge-building practices in science and technology – which, in reality, are complex, unpredictable and theory-limited. While there are a great variety of reasons (many of which are beyond teachers’ direct control), this occurs partly because teachers of science generally have not had such realistic experiences. While student-teachers can develop this kind of ‘meta-scientific’ literacy in university-based science teacher education programmes, this depends on the extent to which activities are legitimised through close associations with authentic school contexts. In this paper, we report effects on science-specialist student-teachers’ conceptions about science and technology, and corresponding priorities for school science, after interacting with a case documentary that depicted students collaborating in development and evaluation of pneumatic-controlled robotic arms. Data, including video footage of student-teachers’ interactions with cases and audio recordings of interviews with them and their teacher, indicated that many student-teachers developed more naturalistic perspectives on knowledge development in science and technology and corresponding pedagogical priorities. At the same time, most also recommended an ‘apprenticeship’ for students, gradually moving them from unrealistic (e.g., following a linear model for technological design) to more realistic (e.g., accommodating flexibility in design, while pointing out such limits to creativity as techno-determinism) problem solving contexts.

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