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

Curriculum Vitae

Bencze, L., El Halwany, S., Milanovic, M., Qureshi, N., & Zouda, M. (2019). Roadblocks to critical and active civic engagement in/through school science: Stories from the field. Educação e Fronteiras, 9(25), 48-71.

For about 50 years, science educators have been promoting education about relationships among fields of science and technology and societies and environments (‘STSE’). Although helping students to understand inter- and/or trans-disciplinarity of science and relevant controversies, STSE education often seems very apolitical. In light of many governments’ difficulties in addressing harms such as those from climate disruptions that appear associated with global pro-capitalist networks, it seems clear that science educators need to encourage and enable students to critically analyze STSE relationships and develop and take actions to address harms they determine. Although educators have had some successes in this regard, they often are restricted to relatively rare contexts. Among ‘road blocks’ to their successes, it seems that ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education and inquiry-based learning (IBL) approaches are particularly powerful. In our study reported here of four science teachers’ efforts to encourage/enable critical and active civic engagement, it appears that, while STEM education and IBL continue to be limiting, comitted teachers can develop innovative approaches to achieve such goals.

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