Attending to the public understanding of science education: A response to Furtak and Penuel

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Abstract

This commentary is a response to Furtak and Penuel (2019), and raises four key points. The first is to reframe Furtak and Penuel's argument as an appeal for a public understanding of science education, and by extension, science education reform. The second is to note that such a public understanding of science education must include attention to more than the structure and content of science curricula and the enactment of a “practice turn”; it must also include a robust vision of science pedagogy—something that is markedly absent from the recent Next Generation Science Standards and Framework documents. The third is to make the case that the use of terminology like “hands-on” is really a marker for a conception of science education, and by attempting to communicate a competing model of science education, reformers are aiming to effect conceptual change among the public about science education itself. Finally, I argue that logical and rational efforts to communicate a public understanding of science education are likely to fall short if affective factors—which are highly activated when discussing science and science education publicly—are not taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1300
Number of pages7
JournalScience Education
Volume103
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • conceptual change
  • public understanding of science
  • public understanding of science education
  • science pedagogy
  • science standards

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