Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 8, Issue 1, Article 11 (June, 2007)
Beverley JANE, Marilyn FLEER & John GIPPS

Changing children's views of science and scientists through school-based teaching

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Introduction: Identifying the problem

In popular culture several stereotypical views of scientists have been identified (see below) that represent scientists in negative terms. Unfortunately, many middle school students hold these stereotypical views of scientists, show little interest in science in the classroom, and consequently are not attracted to science or engineering careers (see Australian Foundation for Science, 1991). In contrast, the same students eagerly embrace the latest products of science and technology (such as mobile phones, computers, ipods and digital cameras) and these hi-tech products quickly become an integral part of their lives. 'Being connected' is so important for teenagers that their mobile phones are essential accessories, enabling them to communicate with their friends anywhere 24-7. We contend that this mismatch needs to be addressed at the school level and in the science classroom in particular. A challenge for teachers of science is to provide experiences for students that debunk this stereotype that is being fostered by the media.


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