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Expanding Notions of Scientific Literacy: A Reconceptualization of Aims of Science Education in the Knowledge Society

  • Xiufeng LiuEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 8)

Abstract

There have been worldwide movements to reform science education around the aim of promoting scientific literacy in school children and the general citizenry over the past two decades. The basic premise of scientific literacy is that there are essential scientific understandings, skills, and dispositions that every citizen must acquire in order to fully participate in the society. This premise is based on a deficit model which can be questioned from current science learning theories, the current divide between the scientific community and the public, and the demand of the knowledge society. Reconceptualizing the aim of science education may be based on an expanded notion of scientific literacy by including science engagement (SE). SE emphasizes social, cultural, political, and environmental issues (SCPEI) related to science. Examples from a graduate science education program, an award winning documentary, and a middle-school science project demonstrate the viability of SE. It is argued that there should be a balance among different visions of scientific literacy (SL) and such a balanced notion of SL may become a foundation of developing science education aims in the knowledge society.

Keywords

Science Education Scientific Literacy Knowledge Society Informal Science Education Science Education Literature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Learning and InstructionState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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