New Book: Perspectives on Science Education

What is the purpose of science education? As science educators it’s important to take time to analyze and discuss the reasons why we teach science to children.

How does science affect our daily lives, how can it inspire and motivate us, how can it help to change the way we see the world? What solutions can we create? It’s essential to wrestle with these questions so that we can engage students in similar debates.

Perspectives on Science Education: A Leadership Seminar, the new NSTA Press book by Rodger Bybee and Stephen Pruitt, originated through a series of ongoing discussions begun a decade ago. These discussions have evolved as policies and practices have also evolved. This unique book is designed to have the feel of a seminar, where participants share different perspectives. It will appeal to education leaders at the national, state, district, and school levels who make decisions affecting education policies and curricula.

“This book is not so much about answers; it is more about questions. It is not about persuading you of the need to reform; it is more about developing your understanding of science education and recognizing the challenges and opportunities of leadership,” Bybee and Pruitt state in the preface.

Perspectives on Science Education addresses topics such as the purposes and goals of science education, national and state policies, and changes in classroom practices for science teaching.

The goal is to provide educators and education leaders with a clear and informed history of varying perspectives. “Looking at the science education community, there is a clear and – we think – compelling need to develop a new generation of leaders who understand science education and are willing to confront the challenges of reform. This book is our response to those ready to face the challenges and provide leadership for education reform,” Bybee and Pruitt state.

For example, in Chapter 3, “Science Education in America,” the authors examine several historical models of curricula programs and associated instructional practices. Tracing science education from the colonial period to today, the authors explore the central questions that have historically guided different models of science instruction and shaped how teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers have determined what information students will learn and how they will learn it. They also look at how social pressures and industrialization both affected science education and discuss how curriculum changes have been made in response to the larger social demands of the time.

Read the sample chapter “National Standards and Science Education: Historical Perspectives” to learn more about the discussions that have served to inform our national policies over time and to understand better how we arrived at the current Next Generation Science Standards.  

The book intends to foster an important discussion. Get your copy of Perspectives on Science Education here and join the conversation. This book is also available as an e-book.

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