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

Graduate Studies
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
University of Toronto
Science & Technology Education

CTL 1223, a half-course in graduate studies at OISE-UT, focuses on theory and practice in science (and/or technology) education to help students to gain expertise, confidence and motivation for self-directing personal and social action projects to address harms they perceive to be associated with fields of science and technology, their relationships with each other and with societies and environments. Through the links at right, you can access a course outline and relevant educational resources. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, etc., please don't hesitate to write to me about them.

Course Description.
Course Resources.

Course Description [draft]


This course is intended to provide graduate students with theoretical and practical resources for helping students to self-direct networked research-informed and negotiated action (nRiNA) projects aimed at addressing power-related problems of interest to them in relationships among fields of science and technology and societies and environments (pSTSE). As indicated below, students might conduct Internet research to learn more about energy systems, roles of politicians and companies and climate change and, then, design and conduct studies (e.g., teenagers’ shower lengths) to supplement their learning and, with various resources available to them, negotiate, develop and implement plans of action (e.g., personal behavioural changes, educational pamphlets, Facebook™ posts and a climate march) to address problems (e.g., hot water uses) they perceive. This course is related to my research in the 'STEPWISE' project.

Because students often struggle to self-direct nRiNA projects, the course also deals with a range of teaching/learning approaches that teachers could use to help students to develop expertise, confidence and motivation for leading such projects. Related to such projects are various theoretical conceptions, such as actor-network theory and conceptions of power.
Although this course relates to curricula in many places in the world, it is mostly aligned with the first two Goals — as illustrated above — of Ontario curricula (e.g., MoE, 2008, p. 6). Although ‘STSE’ and ‘Skills’ education are listed first and second, respectively, in Ontario curricula, which gives them considerable official support, they often are de-emphasized in schools — which continue traditional emphases on ‘Concepts1’. This course, therefore, focuses on Goals of official curricula that often are not part of normal practice in schools. Moreover, this course emphasizes aspects of STSE and Skills education that are not commonly addressed in schools — such as roles of financiers and corporations in influencing fields of science and technology, which often are linked to many STSE problems, like climate change, human diseases and species losses (e.g., Carter, 2005; Mirowski, 2011). Accordingly, there are numerous scholars suggesting that citizens need to be ever-vigilant in critically evaluating and addressing harms associated with activities of fields of science and technology and individuals and individuals and groups influencing them.
1Although the Ontario government calls these ‘Concepts,’ I call this ‘Products’ – because: i) there are concepts associated with other domains, such as STSE, and ii) the term ‘Products’ because what is being taught are products (e.g., laws & theories) of scientists’ and engineers’ work.
Course Overview
To accomplish course goals, graduate students will be provided with lectures and readings (mostly refereed publications) and sample instructional resources — and regularly asked to analyze and evaluate them. The course also involves some curriculum development and evaluations by students. A list of relevant refereed publications is provided below (not all of which is required reading). Ongoing course lectures and ‘formative’ assignments (Value = 25% of final grade) are meant to prepare students for development of the course’s two ‘summative’ assignments. These are outlined below, with detailed descriptions given on separate sheets (Note: These are only sample possible assignments):
  • Summative Assignment #1: Self-led RiNA Project Report. You are expected to design and implement a research-informed and negotiated action (RiNA) project that addresses a problem in relationships among fields of science and technology and societies and environments (STSE) relating to a for-profit product or service of your choice and, in association with a report of that project, provide a scholarly ‘meta-analysis’ of the nature of such projects using references to refereed publications drawn mostly from this course; Value = 25% of grade.
  • Summative Assignment #2: Annotated RiNA Pedagogy. Students are expected to provide general teaching and learning suggestions for lessons and students activities that are aimed at helping students to eventually self-direct networked RiNA projects to address an STSE issue of their choice. Included in these suggestions should be an assignment package pertaining to students’ self-directed RiNA project. Accompanying these resources should be an academic defence of them that makes considerable reference to refereed sources (mostly drawn from this course) that discusses merits of both learning outcomes and pedagogical strategies used; Value = 50% of grade.
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Course Resources
To help students to achieve the goals of this course, several resources are provided.
Although there is no formal course text, a few books will be recommended. In addition, several readings will be provided from various refereed journal articles, book chapters, etc., many of which are given below. Related to that, students should make great use of the OISE/UT Library, including its provision of full-text journal articles. Students also are strongly urged to use ideas, perspectives, practices, etc. provided through my website. Although the resources on my site is largely oriented towards science education, there may be many ideas, resources, etc. that apply to other subjects - including mathematics & technology education. Ideas and resources through the STEPWISE website are core to this course. Other resources are outlined briefly below, as well as linked, at right. This course was conducted online via a PeppeR site.
Educational Resources
The following sets of web pages could be very helpful for students in this course:

Some References
All of the refereed sources below are not intended to be read by students in the course, but are provided in case anyone chooses to use some of them for particular assignments. Also, the course will provide other references.

Achieve, Inc. (2013). Next generation science standards. Washington, DC: Achieve Inc.

Agamben, G. (2005). State of exception (trans. K. Attell). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Angell, M. (2004). The truth about the drug companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it. New York: Random House.

Armstrong, H.E. (1903). The teaching of scientific method and other papers on education. New York: Macmillan and Co.

Bakan, J. (2004). The corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power. Toronto: Viking.

Bakan, J. (2011). Childhood under siege: How big business targets children. Toronto: Allen Lane.

Ball, S.J. (2012). Global Education Inc.: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. Abingdon: Routledge.

Barber, B.R. (2007). Consumed: How markets corrupt children, infantilize adults, and swallow citizens whole. New York: Norton.

Barnett, J., & Hodson, D. (2001). Pedagogical context knowledge: Toward a fuller understanding of what good science teachers know. Science Education, 85(4), 426-453.

Baudrillard, J. (1998). The consumer society. London: Sage.

Bell, R.L. (2006). Perusing Pandora’s box: Exploring the what, when, and how of nature of science instruction. In L.B. Flick & N.G. Lederman (Eds.), Scientific inquiry and nature of science: Implications for teaching, learning, and teacher education (pp. 427-446). Dordrecht: Springer.

Bencze, J.L. (1995). Towards a more authentic and feasible science curriculum for secondary schools. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Toronto: The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Bencze, J.L. (1996). Correlational studies in school science: Breaking the science-experiment-certainty connection. School Science Review, 78(282), 95-101.

Bencze, J.L. (2000). Procedural apprenticeship in school science: Constructivist enabling of connoisseurship. Science Education, 84(6), 727-739.

Bencze, J.L. (editor) (2017). Science & technology education promoting wellbeing for individuals, societies & environments. Dordrecht: Springer.

Bencze, J.L., & Alsop, S. (2009). A critical and creative inquiry into school science inquiry. In W.-M. Roth & K. Tobin (Eds.), The world of science education: North America (pp. 27-47). Rotterdam: Sense.

Bencze, J.L., & Alsop, S. (editors). (2014). Activist science & technology education. Dordrecht: Springer.

Bencze, J.L., & Carter, L. (2015). Capitalists’ profitable virtual worlds: Roles for science & technology education. In P.P. Trifonas (Ed.), International handbook of semiotics, vol. 1 & 2 (pp. 1197-1212). Dordrecht: Springer.

Bencze, L., & Carter, L. (2011). Globalizing students acting for the common good. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(6), 648-669.

Bencze, L., & Pouliot, C. (2017). Battle of the bands: Toxic dust, active citizenship and science education. In J.L. Bencze (Ed.), Science & technology education promoting wellbeing for individuals, societies & environments (pp. 381-404). Dordrecht: Springer.

Bencze, L., Reiss, M., Sharma, A., & Weinstein, M. (in press). STEM education as ‘Trojan horse’: Deconstructed and reinvented for all. In L. Bryan & K. Tobin (Eds.), Thirteen questions in science education (pp. xx-xx). New York: Peter Lang.

Bencze, J.L., & Sperling, E.R. (2012). Student-teachers as advocates for student-led research-informed socioscientific activism. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics & Technology Education, 12(1), 62–85.

Bencze, L., Sperling, E., & Carter, L. (2012). Students’ research-informed socioscientific activism: Re/Visions for a sustainable future. Research in Science Education, 42(1), 129-148.

Birmingham, D., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2014). Putting on a green carnival: Youth taking educated action on socioscientific issues. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 286-314.

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J.G. Richardson (Ed.), The handbook of theory: Research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood Press.

Bruner, J.S. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Callon, M. (1999). The role of lay people in the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Science Technology & Society, 4(1), 81-94.

Carter, L. (2005). Globalisation and science education: Rethinking science education reforms. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(5), 561-580.

Castano, C. (2008). Socio-scientific discussions as a way to improve the comprehension of science and the understanding of the interrelation between species and the environment. Research in Science Education, 38(5), 565-587.

Evans, P. (2012). Counter-hegemonic globalization. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of globalization (pp. 1-7). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault effect: Studies in governmentality (pp. 87-104). Hemel Hempstead, UK: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Foucault, M. (2008). The birth of biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Freeland, C. (2012). Plutocrats: The rise of the new global super-rich and the fall of everyone else. New York: Penguin.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum Publishing Company.

Gagné, R.M. (1963). The learning requirements for inquiry. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 1(2), 144–153.

Grandy, R., & Duschl, R.A. (2007). Reconsidering the character and role of inquiry in school science: Analysis of a conference. Science & Education, 16(2), 141–166.

Giroux, H.A., & Giroux, S.S. (2006). Challenging neoliberalism’s new world order: The promise of critical pedagogy. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 6(1), 21-32.

Gough, A. (2015). STEM policy and science education: Scientistic curriculum and sociopolitical silences. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 10(2), 445-458.

Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Harvey, D. (2010). The enigma of capital and the crises of capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hodson, D. (1986). The nature of scientific observation. School Science Review, 68, 17-29.

Hodson, D. (1993). Re-thinking old ways: Towards a more critical approach to practical work in school science. Studies in Science Education, 22(1),  85-142.

Hodson, D. (1998). Science fiction: The continuing misrepresentation of science in the school curriculum. Curriculum Studies, 6(2), 191-216.

Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: Science education for an alternative future. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 645–670.

Hodson, D. (2008). Towards scientific literacy: A teachers’ guide to the history, philosophy and sociology of science. Rotterdam: Sense.

Hodson, D. (2011). Looking to the future: Building a curriculum for social activism. Rotterdam: Sense.

Hoeg, D., & Bencze, L. (2017). Values underpinning STEM education in the USA: An analysis of the Next Generation Science Standards. Science Education, 101(2), 278–301.

Klein, N. (2000). No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies. Toronto: Vintage.

Klein, N. (2007). The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. New York: Henry Holt.

Klein, N. (2014). This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. Toronto: Simon & Schuster.

Klein, N. (2017). No is not enough: Resisting Trump’s shock politics and winning the world we need. Chicago: Haymarket.

Kleinman, D.L. (2003). Impure cultures: University biology and the world of commerce. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Krimsky, S. (2003). Science in the private interest: Has the lure of profits corrupted biomedical research? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Krstovic, M. (2014). Preparing students for self-directed research-informed actions on socioscientific issues. In L. Bencze & S. Alsop (Eds.), Activist science and technology education (pp. 399-417). Dordrecht: Springer.

Kuhn, T.S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd edition).  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lawson, A.E. (2005). What is the role of induction and deduction in reasoning and scientific inquiry? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(6), 716–740.

Leonard, A. (2010). The Story of Stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health - and a vision for change. New York: Free Press.

Levinson, R. (2010). Science education and democratic participation: An uneasy congruence? Studies in Science Education, 46(1), 69-119.

Levinson, R. (2013). Practice and theory of socio-scientific issues: An authentic model? Studies in Science Education, 49(10), 99-116.

Lewis, T. (2006). Design and inquiry: Bases for an accommodation between science and technology education in the curriculum? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(3), 255–281.

Linn, S. (2005). Consuming kids: The hostile takeover of childhood. New York: New Press.

Lock, R. (1990). Open-ended, problem-solving investigations—What do we mean and how can we use them? School Science Review, 71(256), 63-72.

Lofgren, M. (2016). The deep state: The fall of the constitution and the rise of a shadow government. New York: Viking.

Losee, J. (2001). A historical introduction to the philosophy of science (4th edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Loving, C.C. (1991). The Scientific Theory Profile: A philosophy of science model for science teachers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(9), 823-838.

Lowenstein, E., Marusewicz, R., & Voelker, L. (2010). Developing teachers’ capacity for ecojustice education and community-based learning. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(4), 99-118.

Martusewicz, R., Edmundson, J., & Lupinacci, J. (2015). Ecojustice education: Toward diverse, democratic, and sustainable communities (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Matusitz, J., & Lord, L. (2013). Glocalization or grobalization of Wal-Mart in the US?: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change, 10(1), 81-100.

Mayer, J. (2016). Dark money: The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right. New York: Doubleday.

McMurtry, J. (2013). The cancer stage of capitalism: From crisis to cure.  London: Pluto.

Methmann, C.P. (2010). ‘Climate protection’ as empty signifier: A discourse theoretical perspective on climate mainstreaming in world politics. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 39(2), 345-372.

Ministry of Education [MoE] (2008). The Ontario curriculum, grades 9 and 10: Science. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.

Mirowski, P. (2011). Science-mart: Privatizing American science. Cambridge, M: Harvard University Press.

Mueller, M., & Tippins, D.J. (2012). Citizen science, ecojustice, and science education: Rethinking and education from nowhere. In B.J. Fraser, K. Tobin & C.J. McRobbie (Eds.), Second international handbook of science education (pp. 865-882). Dordrecht: Springer.

Mueller, M.P., & Tippins, D.J. (eds.) (2015). EcoJustice, citizen science and youth activism: Situated tensions for science education. Dordrecht: Springer.

National Research Council [NRC] (2011). Successful STEM education: Identifying effective approaches in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

NRC (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Nuffield Physics (1967). Teachers’ guide 1. London: Longman/Penguin.

Oreskes, N., & Conway, E. (2010). Merchants of doubt. London: Bloomsbury Press.

Oxfam (2017). Even it up: Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world. Available at: goo.gl/eFhydo.

Osborne, R., & Wittrock, M. (1985). The Generative Learning Model and its implications for science education. Studies in Science Education, 12, 59-87.

Pedretti, E., & Nazir, J. (2011). Currents in STSE education: Mapping a complex field, 40 years on. Science Education, 95(4), 601-626.

Pierce, C. (2012). The promissory future(s) of education: Rethinking scientific literacy in the era of biocapitalism. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(7), 721-745.

Pierce, C. (2013). Education in the age of biocapitalism: Optimizing educational life for a flat world. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Reich, R.B. (2007). Supercapitalism: The transformation of business, democracy, and everyday life. New York: Knopf.

Rennie, L., Venville, G., & Wallace, J. (Eds.) (2012). Integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics: Issues, reflections and ways forward. New York: Routledge.

Ritzer, G. (2004). Globalization of nothing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Roth, W.M. (2001). Learning science through technological design. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(7), 768-790.

Roth, W.-M., & Désautels, J. (Eds.) (2002). Science education as/for sociopolitical action. New York: Peter Lang.

Roudometof, V. (2016). Glocalization: A critical introduction. London: Routledge.

Sadler, T. (Ed.) (2011). Socio-scientific issues in the classroom: Teaching, learning and research. Dordrecht: Springer.

Sadler, T.D., Barab, S.A., & Scott, B. (2007). What do students gain by engaging in socioscientific inquiry? Research in Science Education, 37(4), 371-391.

Santos, W.L.P. dos (2009). Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education. Science Education, 93(2), 361-382.

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Schlosser, E. (2001). Fast food nation: The dark side of the All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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Zeidler, D.L. (2016). STEM education: A deficit framework for the twenty first century? A sociocultural socioscientific response. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 11(1), 11-26.

Zeidler, D.L., Sadler, T.D., Applebaum, S., & Callahan, B.E. (2009). Advancing reflective judgement through socioscientific issues. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 74-101.

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Zoras, B., & Bencze, L. (2014). Utilizing social media to increase student-led activism on STSE issues. In L. Bencze & S. Alsop (Eds.), Activist science and technology education (pp. 435-449). Dordrecht: Springer.

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