The link between policy and practice in science education: The role of research

Peter J. Fensham
2009 Science Education  
Policy has been a much neglected area for research in science education. In their neglect of policy studies, researchers have maintained an ongoing naivety about the politics of science education. In doing so, they often over estimate the implications of their research findings about practice, and ignore the interplay between the stakeholders beyond and in-school who determine the nature of the curriculum for science education and its enacted character. Policies for education (and science
more » ... ion in particular) always involve authority and values, both of which raise sets of fascinating questions for research. The location of authority for science education differs across educational systems in ways that affect the role teachers are expected to play. Policies very often value some groups in society over others, as the long history of attempts to provide science for all students testifies. As research on teaching/learning science identifies pedagogies that have widespread effectiveness, the policy issue of mandating these becomes important. Illustrations of successful policy to practice suggest that establishing conditions that will facilitate the intended implementation is critically important. The responsibility of researchers for critiquing and establishing policy for improving the practice of science education is discussed, together with the role research associations could play if they are to claim their
doi:10.1002/sce.20349 fatcat:wvzn6hjlljawloxt3phbml2pci