NOTIFY ME!Be the first to know
meet our cause
Chicago , IL 60612-3532
Scientists are not united as educators; they have become researchers instead and have abandoned systematic teaching of science. What little they now teach is related to their research. Students thus get exposed to a specific area of research while to be scientists they need a broader background so to be versatile enough to navigate within disciplines.
Every other discipline e.g., music, arts, spots, and humanities, have not abandoned their areas of interest as scientists have done. They in fact have seen it fit to pass their art and their passion to their students and have gone to great pains to create a systematic way of teaching their craft. That is why so many students opt for music, art and sports and not for science because the scientists have not done that sort of effort.
But so not to blame the scientists wholesale, we need to find out why this happened so we can find ways to rectify it.
Science education was not always the way it is now. It was a passionate subject taught with gusto mostly until the 1950-60 when our schools and colleges were giving extensive hands-on courses with some research component to show how research is done and how to ensure that its results are reproducible.
That was the glorious period of science when we produced Nobel Laureates by the dozen and when our public was also science literate actually participating in creating a healthy progressive society making our economy and education the envy of the world. Informed public also activity participated in combating polio and tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. That public was also not gullible and could discern a scientific fact from a mere hoax which sense is now fast vanishing due to the infomercials and much fear based information purveyed through them.
This decline in science savvy started around 1970’s when a few important scientific discoveries such as the mass production of penicillin and other antibiotics, the discovery of insulin and finally the discovery of DNA structure strengthened the fledgling pharmaceutical and health care industries to a point that they became major economic movers in our local and global society.
These emerging areas were so promising economically that a great deal of venture capital poured in. Much of the needed research however was so special that it could only be done in our academic institutions where both the manpower and the facilities were available.
That started a “partnership” between the academia and the businesses where the academia, in order to safeguard its own economic interests, had to stay on the forefront by giving research a priority.
But research requires time and the easier way to get that time was to water down courses or altogether eliminate a few of them. Time was also saved by justifying the use of audio visual aids.
Regarding courses, what went first was the lab portion of science courses because these were time consuming. Closing these courses also freed some funds which could then be diverted to research.
Emerging science based businesses also required manpower with research background which now the academia could provide. This way both the academia and the businesses benefited while the students and the society suffered bringing us to where we are now where most of our graduates fail to find employment and our public with little to no understanding of science.
Science Skills Center is thus designed to restore science making it mainstream again but we want to teach it not via books but by having our students actually do science using all the tools and instruments scientists use to do science.
At the Science Skills Center we thus do the following:
- One, we teach science the way it is actually done complete with all the science instruments and tools scientists use to do science. This makes science a logical subject which the science books and the periodic table fail to do especially for a beginning student;
- Two, we also reduced science into a comprehensible fluid whole reducing it to mere 150 concepts and skills.
- This happened accidentally when we taught science extemporaneously which freed it from the constraints of a formal curriculum. This coupled with a fortuitous circumstance is what led to reducing science to the 150 concepts and skills. See the story at: http://www.iibbt.com/howscience.htm.
To get a bird’s eye view of our overall teaching approach see: http://news.medill.nortrhwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=149281.
Using this Center, we want to do three things:
- One, to bring and retain more students into science;
- Two, strengthen STEM program which despite infusion of much money is not living up to its expected potential; and
- Three, train or rather revitalize teachers making them versatile so they can teach science in an integrative and in a true hands-on fashion.
For more information visit: www.scienceskillscenter.org; also www.ifoundmicrobiology and www.centerforintegrativelearning.org.
Or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org