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UJ lecture stresses need for scientific literacy in young minds

Today, it is more important than ever, for science teachers and researchers to investigate and defend how to best educate young people in sciences. This was a remark from Barbara Crawford, a Professor and Department Head in the Mathematics and Science Education Department at the University of Georgia, USA.

Prof Crawford was speaking during a public lecture titled, How can we develop scientific literacy in young people in an era of science mistrust and misunderstanding? The lecture was held at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park on Thursday, 18 May 2017.
She stressed that promoting scientific literacy has been central to education reforms for more than a century. “Knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and principles, and an understanding of how educators use logic and evidence are crucial building foundations for the development of the young mind,” said Prof Crawford.
She pointed out that there is a need in the United States and other countries to prepare teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines by introducing mechanisms and resources to support educators to enhance achievement of young African Americans, Latino/s, and other learners from populations generally underrepresented in the sciences.
Prof Crawford’s lecture supported the work currently undertaken by UJ’s Science Education Unit in the Department of Science and Technology Education. Prof Umesh Ramnarain from the unit is leading research on the role of inquiry-based in supporting the development of scientific literacy amongst school learners. The unit is now collaborating with Prof Crawford in investigating appropriate pedagogical approaches and related classroom experiences that would enhance the scientific literacy of South African learners.
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