A new survey has revealed that Americans believe their schools are teaching too much about science and technology, and many aren’t being given the tools to use those resources.
The survey, conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), found that more than half of the surveyed scientists think that the school environment is “a major factor in science education” — including only 40 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree.
While this number is higher than the national average of 49 percent, the researchers noted that more scientists are working in their field, and the gap between those who are in and who are out is widening.
“The majority of science teachers and educators surveyed believe that the science education they offer in the classroom is insufficient to support all students,” the researchers wrote.
“Science education must be designed to meet the needs of those who work in science, and that includes students who are non-specialists, special education students, and students with disabilities.”
While the survey revealed a disconnect between those scientists who were actively engaged in the field and those who weren’t, the authors of the report noted that “the gap between teachers and science teachers is not necessarily the result of inadequate or non-existent teaching, but of insufficient or nonable teachers, too.”
The report found that one in five scientists surveyed said they are “not working with science teachers to address the problems they see in science teaching.”
The report also found that scientists with a master’s degree have higher rates of being out of the classroom, and they are less likely to see the impact of their work.
“One of the most effective ways to improve teaching and learning is to increase the number of science educators who are working with students,” said study co-author Robert Y. Wang, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“When the teacher is not working with the students, the teacher’s job is to support them in their learning and the students’ learning is not.”
The survey, which was conducted in February and March, found that “a majority of American scientists are not taking advantage of the opportunity for more science teachers in their schools.”
More than half (53 percent) of those surveyed said that their schools don’t offer enough science education.
The authors noted that a large number of teachers are out of a job or have been laid off, and said that while it’s important to have a high school science teacher, they “may be doing a better job of educating students in their areas of expertise.”
One in five (19 percent) science teachers said they “would like to see more science teaching opportunities in their districts” but they “can’t afford to do so.”
Yee, the director of the American Physical Society’s Center for Excellence in Science Education, said that “science education has a long way to go” and that the survey should help scientists make the most of the new opportunities that are available.
“Our schools are at the forefront of science education,” Yee said.
“And we need to ensure that the current science education system has the best chance to deliver the results that our students need.”
Read the full report: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/science-education/study-finds-most-scientists-think-their-schools-are-too-much-about-science-and-technology/article/n4n1hv1g