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

Curriculum Vitae

Bencze, L., DiGiuseppe, M., Hodson, D., Pedretti, E., Serebrin, L., & Decoito, I. (2003). Paradigmic road blocks in elementary school science 'reform': Reconsidering nature-of-science teaching within a rational-realist milieu. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 16(5), 285-308.

Although governments espouse development in students of comprehensive science literacy, excessive teaching of achievements of science tends to compromise students’ development of realistic conceptions about science and expertise for doing science. For most students, school science is like being chained inside Plato’s cave, only able to experience and interpret the world of science from flickering, shadowy images. This can be particularly problematic for students in elementary schools, who may not be developmentally ready for abstract topics inherent to nature of science discussions and whose teachers tend to have low science self-efficacy beliefs. In the mainly qualitative ethnographic study of a 3-year, large-scale collaborative action research project reported here, a significant additional factor limiting students’ access to more contemporary views about and realistic experiences with science, however, was government curriculum policy—which promotes highly idealized portrayals of and regulated experiences with science. Data and arguments for these claims are provided.

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