Meeting Eleven (8th May): School is not where most Americans learn most of their science

John Falk and Lynn Dierking “The 95 Percent Solution: School is not where most Americans learn most of their science”, American Scientist 98: 486-493 (2010), doi: 10.1511/2010.87.486. [Download .PDF]

Abstract: We contend that a major educational advantage enjoyed by the US relative to the rest of the world is its vibrant free-choice science learning landscape—a landscape filled with a vast array of digital resources, educational television and radio, science museums, zoos, aquariums, national parks, community activities such as 4-H and scouting and many other scientifically enriching enterprises.

Discussion Points:

  • John Falk claims that the evidence suggests that “most science is learned outside of school”. Thinking about your own friends or colleagues who are not scientists or science teachers, how true do you think that statement is?
  • The UK has some of the best museums, science centres, botanic gardens, etc. in the world. Some schools make great use of them and others don’t. Should we be investing more time and effort in visits to such places?
  • What would you like to see museums, etc. offer that they don’t already?
  • Partnerships between museums, etc. seem to have much to offer. But what might these partnerships look like?
  • How do we help students to maximise their learning when they are out of school – or on their home computers?

Thanks to Professor Justin Dillion for these discussion points.


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