Salvaging Science Literacy

January 1st, 2011 | RESEARCH

There is little evidence that the prevailing strategies of science education have an impact on the use and interpretation of science in daily life. Most science educators and science education researchers nonetheless believe that science education is intrinsically useful for students who do not go on to scientific or technical careers. This essay focuses on the 'usefulness' aspect of science literacy, which I contend has largely been reduced to a rhetorical claim. A truly useful version of science literacy must be connected to the real uses of science in daily life-what is sometimes called public engagement with science. A small number of science education researchers have already begun to connect science education and the broader field of public engagement with science. Their work, as well as the work of researchers who study public engagement, suggests that it is possible to salvage the 'usefulness' of science literacy by helping students become competent outsiders with respect to science.


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Team Members

Noah Feinstein, Author, University of Wisconsin, Madison


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1002/sce.20414
Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 0036-8326

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 95
Number: 1
Page(s): 168

Related URLs

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Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Literacy
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections | Public Programs