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

Curriculum Vitae

Bowen, G.M., & Bencze, J.L. (2009). Print media representations of science fairs. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 9(2), 100-116.

Science fairs are an almost unavoidable experience for students at some stage in public school. This paper examines how student projects and science fairs—and, by extension, professional science—are portrayed in newspaper media coverage of national and local science fairs. Despite a high student participation rate and a high number of science fairs (100+ regional fairs/year), media coverage is infrequent. Of the newspaper coverage that does occur, much of it reflects four ideological themes: i) Science is competitive, ii) Science is instrumentalist, iii) Commodification of science, and (iv) Corporatism. Notably, we found that detailed descriptions of student involvement in science investigations were infrequent. We conclude by posing questions for possible future action, both in regards to the media discussing the ideologies identified earlier, and for shifting focus to more about the student projects themselves and the student participation in those projects.

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