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A History of Ideas in Science Education: Implications for Practice

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807730539
ISBN-10: 080773053X
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (February 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080773053X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807730539
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

George E. DeBoer is deputy director of Project 2061, a long-term science education reform effort of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and he is Professor Emeritus of Educational Studies at Colgate University where he was active on the faculty from 1974-2004. He also served as program director at the National Science Foundation from 2000-2002. His primary writing interests are science education policy, the history of science education, and student assessment in science. In addition to his books, he has authored numerous papers and book chapters on these subjects. He also directed a large-scale assessment development project at AAAS, which resulted in a website with over 600 science assessment items and reports on what U.S. students know in science that are free to the public. The website can be accessed at http://assessment.aaas.org.

He is a native of Midland Park, New Jersey and a graduate of Eastern Christian High School. He received his higher education in the Midwest, receiving a BA in 1966 from Hope College, an MAT in Biochemistry and Science Teaching in 1968 from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in Science Education in 1972 from Northwestern University. He lives in Washington, DC and Key Biscayne, FL.

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Format: Paperback
DeBoer presents good detail about the history of key ideas in science education. It primarily focuses on the field as it has evolved in the US, but he does bring in information about early influences from Europe. It's very enlightening to think that many of the "reform" movements of the last 30 years are reincarnations of arguments from almost 100 years ago. That being said, the book isn't great. I think DeBoer's writing style is dry and at times clunky. You'll really want to know this information to get through it all.
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One of the complicated things about science education is that there are so many reasons to do it. Because time in school is limited, focusing on one outcome often means paying less attention to another. We might want children to like science, we might want them to go deep to understand the structure of a specific scientific discipline, we might want them to get a broad understanding across many areas of science so that they are scientifically literate, we might want them to have a good idea of how science works and how it helps figure things out, or we might want them to focus on socially relevant problem such as climate change. Then, even if we agree on a couple of these objectives, there are different ways of getting there.

DeBoer tells the story of how scientists, education theorists, and teachers in the U.S. have negotiated their way between the different goals and different approaches to teaching science over the past 150 years or so. He has distilled a great deal of original source material into a very readable 241 pages. There is great value in being able to survey shifts in science education thinking over such a broad span of time in a relatively short book. The reader comes away with a sense of how this negotiation between scientists and educators works, and of why it sometimes seems that science education revisits the same issues over time.

Like others involved in working with science teachers, I am currently thinking about the Next Generation Science Standards that are being developed from the Framework for K-12 Science Education.
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By Jia Guo on September 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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