New Paradigm of Science
Beau Fly Jones explains the new paradigm for science learning (255K). Excerpted
from the videoseries, Schools That Work: The Research Advantage, vidoeoconference
#3, Children as Explorers (NCREL, 1991). A text
transcript is available.
In Science for All Americans (1989), the American Association
the Advancement of Science (AAAS) established the basis of a new
for science learning. Subsequent writing and research have
and made minor adjustments to the fundamental notions presented in
document, but the essential characteristics have remained intact.
"Principles of Learning" outlined in this document (pp. 145-147) are
- There is not necessarily a one-to-one correspondence between
bad) teaching and good (or bad) learning. Teachers should focus on a
significant, important concepts and skills as they determine what
will teach. Their emphasis should be on quality of understanding
than quantity of information covered.
- In the process of learning, students construct their own meaning
understanding by linking new experience to prior learning.
linking new learning to students' world of experience is critical.
Multiple connections that create a "web of understanding" in the
children are essential as the focus for learning shifts from
knowledge to general concepts.
- Learning generally progresses from concrete experience to
This concept breaks with the behaviorist learning model that
learning as the aggregation of elements and basic skills. Young
in particular, need to have experiences with direct manipulation
they can convert the concepts into abstract symbols and ideas.
- People learn to do well those things that they practice doing.
However, this notion should not be taken as license to engage in
learning activities. It means that students will not learn to think
critically, analyze information, communicate ideas, reach logical
conclusions, collaborate with others, or create alternative
unless they are given the time and opportunity to develop and
- All learners need to know whether their ideas have merit and
learning is sufficient to serve as the basis for new learning.
from peers as well as teachers is critical in students' growth into
motivated, lifelong learners.
- When expectations are clear and standards are high, students
establish realistic personal achievement goals. Self-confidence and
positive self-concept have been shown to connect with the amount of
success a student experiences. Success motivates new learning, but
the accomplishment is real.
Using these principles, a new paradigm for science learning has been
constructed. For further information, see the materials generated as
of Project 2061 of the AAAS.
Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and copyright information.