Teaching Against the Mystique of Science: Literature Based Approaches in Elementary Teacher Education
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School science experiences shape learners' attitudes and beliefs about science. Yet, school experiences often consist of reading from a text, memorizing scientific facts, or conducting “verification” type laboratories, and thus may fail to accurately portray the nature of science. Lemke (1990) refers to this as the “mystique of science” in which teachers, often without realizing it, reinforce a set of harmful myths that impersonalize science and alienate learners. Our own reading of preservice teachers' science autobiographies (Koch, 1990) confirms that the images of science they hold are often inaccurate and oversimplified versions of this rich human and social endeavor. Indeed, when asked to “Draw A Scientist” (Chambers, 1983) our preservice elementary teachers overwhelmingly represent scientists as the stereotypical white male in a lab coat, similar to students and teachers in national studies (Barman, 1997; Moseley & Norris, 1999). Thus, they are likely to perpetuate such images through their own instruction, which can have profound consequences.
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