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

We have been encouraging teachers to use our 3-phase pedagogical framework depicted/linked at right to help students develop expertise, confidence and motivation for self-directing RiNA projects. Although some teachers have adapted this framework to fit their work contexts, the teacher highlighted below managed to closely follow it.

Although our research and publication team have worked with numerous teachers and other educators since invention of the original STEPWISE framework in 2006, few teachers have followed it as closely as Mr. Mirjan Krstovic. He started using it as a secondary school science teacher in 2011, exploring different aspects over the next three years. More recently, as an Instructional Coach, he has been encouraging some teachers to promote RiNA projects using our framework. The annotated videos (and graphics) below may help you to envisage ways in which STEPWISE can be implemented. Also, practical and theoretical resources in Science Education for Civic Action may help.

Students Reflect
To help students to become more conscious of their existing attitudes, skills & knowledge (ASK) regarding matters pertaining to science and technology (S&T), which is a strategy based on constructivist learning theory, teachers are encouraged to first ask students to 'express' (say, write, draw, etc.) their ASK regarding different products of S&T prior to learning such ASK from the teacher and elsewhere. As shown at right, students (in grade 10) chose (among various commodities consumed by youth) to express their ASK about cigarette smoking and, then, using a 'placemat' strategy, shared their ASK with other students in the class. This is one among several approaches teachers can use for reflections.

Teacher Teaches
To help ensure all students are able learn some very important ASK regarding STSE relationships, something not always easy through inquiry-baed learning, for instance and because information in public contexts often are biased towards elite people and groups, we recommend teachers use more direct forms of instruction. Early in his understanding STEPWISE and community activism, for instance, Mirjan visited the Toronto version of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Using photographs like that at left, he showed students examples of community activism - a tack that helped students to envisage civic actions as embedded in STSE relationships. Although he also showed students several videos depicting harms in STSE relationships, such as some from The Story of Stuff, he also energetically taught students - as shown in the video series below - about actor-network theory, how to make actor-network maps to depict STSE relationships and actions.
[view the videos below left to right, starting on the upper left]

To help facilitate students' uses of ANT to analyze STSE relationships that involve the commodity they were investigating, Mirjan arranged to have the school's librarian conduct a workshop - as depited at left - regarding appropriate secondary research approaches (e.g., avoiding websites sponsored by commercial entities and by using claims supported by at least two reputable sources) and uses of certain kinds of library resources. At depicted by the video below, left, students' research could be first limited to their written findings about STSE relationships prior to, as depicted in the video below, right, showing students constructing their ANT maps.

As students worked on their ANT (which he called, for students' benefits, 'mind maps') maps, Mirjan circulated among class student groups - as depicted in the video below, left, to further facilitate deepen of their analyses of STSE relationships. Later, he explained - as depicted in the video below, right, how he revised his teaching of ANT and map making based on his reflections about student development of expertise in this regard.

Students Practise
To help students to develop expertise, confidence and motivation for eventually self-directing RiNA projects to address harms of interest to them in STSE relationships, teachers often find that students benefit from some topic suggestions. This could be as simple as lists of commodities, but also could include issues questions, brief issue descriptions (as at right), and/or more elaborate descriptions of actants relating to commodities, as with MADs. To keep motivate students and keep them orgnaized, teachers typically provide students with a RiNA project assignment sheet (e.g., here) with appropriate due dates for project stages.

This website provides numerous examples of students' RiNA projects, some of which occurred within this Students Practise phase of the STEPWISE pedagogy and others of which were more student-directed and open-ended - the ultimate goal of STEPWISE pedagogy. In addition to the project summarized at left by Mirjan Krstovic, several others are depicted here. Before teachers like Mirjan ask students to conduct student-directed, open-ended RiNA projects, though, it seems helpful to first engage them in activities - such as depicted in the video below - that encourage them to reflect on the nature of RiNA projects (and STSE relationships), such as that they may be biased and non-linear. Students can then use such meta-understandings to plan perhaps more effective RiNA projects.

STEPWISE in Gr. 3-4
In a first for the STEPWISE project, Mirjan Krstovic (as an Instructional Coach) also facilitated work with a teacher of students in grades 3 and 4 to have them explore their views on STSE relationships and, eventually, develop RiNA projects. This work strongly suggests that STEPWISE pedagogy can, indeed, be adapted - albeit likely with at least some collegial support - for very young students, inspiring them along a path to greater active citizenship.

Promoting WISE Technology Design
Students and other community members can develop and implement various kinds of altruistic personal and social actions. Given their prominence in societies, development of inventions or innovations that may function well AND widely promote WISE outcomes - such as social justice & environmental sustainability - can be very helpful. Dave Del Gobbo (PDSB) has - as he explains at right - done so very effectively.

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