TRENDS IN WESTERN SCIENCE CURRICULA AND SCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH: A BIRD’S EYE VIEW

TitleTRENDS IN WESTERN SCIENCE CURRICULA AND SCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH: A BIRD’S EYE VIEW
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsJong, OD
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume6
Issue1
Start Page15-22
Date PublishedMarch/2007
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 482263
Keywordseducational theories, research topics and methods, science curriculum innovations, science teacher education, trends
Abstract

The present article starts with a concise report of three important waves of innovation in Western science education, one in the 1960s, one in the 1980s, and one in the 2000s. The background of each wave is concisely explicated in terms of dissatisfaction with the foregoing curriculum and the rise of new general theories on teaching and learning. The reported innovations have influenced the agenda of research in science education in the Western world. In the second part of the article, the main trends in topics and methods of this research are reported. Finally, some main trends in science teacher education are concisely addressed.
The present overview indicates a number of important developments in science curricula and research in science education. In the last 50 years, a growing interest in research topics related to students and their learning and teachers and their teaching can be indicated. Recently, an important upcoming research topic is focused on the development of science teachers’ knowledge base (cf. De Jong, Veal & Van Driel, 2002). Trends in science curricula and courses will come and go, and ‘hot topics’ in science education research will rise and fall. So far, so good. However, in my opinion, it is time to pay much more attention to an old issue: the relationship between science education research and science teaching practice. In the last half century, this relationship has been problematic. Several attempts have been made to improve this relationship, for instance, by publishing a growing number of books that would inform and support the practice of science teaching (see e.g. De Jong, Kortland, Waarlo & Buddingh’, 1999; Monk & Osborne, 2000). Nevertheless, for many years, researchers have also pointed out the poor effects of their efforts; for example, they complain that the outcomes of research often do not find their ways into the practice of teaching of science (Shymansky & Kyle, 1992). On the other hand, practising science teachers consider personal experiences, common sense, and official documents as much more important sources of their professional knowledge than results of research (Costa, Marques & Kempa, 2000). In conclusion, one of the biggest challenges of the near future of science education is to bridge the gap between science education research outcomes and science teaching practices in the classroom.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?level=5&icid=482263
Refereed DesignationRefereed