Constructivism, interactive science teaching, crisis, and “science for all”: Gaps in the new orthodoxy

Joce Jesson
Vol 10, Number 2, p.84
Since the developments of the Learning in Science Project (LISP) at Waikato University in the 1980s, teachers in both primary and secondary teaching concerned with science education have become aware that something \"important\" is coming from Waikato. There is a great deal of talk about \"interactive science teaching\", \"generative learning\", and \"constructivism\", and even \"LISP teaching\" or \"Waikato Science\" as I have heard one teacher describe it. These ideas have been often tied to the notion of \"science for all\". However the theoretical base underlying some of these latest trends in science education which became manifest in the F1-5 Curriculum Review in Science (CRIS) started in 1985, has not been really discussed in a public forum. Much of the comment and criticism of both CRIS and the syllabus has tended to be directed at the perceived effects of that syllabus \"as a curriculum to be delivered\" rather than at the theoretical base underlying it. This criticism has helped the new Minister of Education to leave the CRIS project sitting on the table while yet another group attempt to repeat the same process. Yet this theoretical base has become part of the 'taken-for-granted', the commonsense of science education: it is the new orthodoxy. As such there needs to be a deeper debate. I intend to explore the history and rationale for this new orthodoxy of science education. This will be discussed particularly in relation to the idea of \"science for all\" which underlies some of the current debate in science education.