NSF Report Paints Grim Picture Of Undergrad Science Education

'HOW SCIENCE WORKS': William Hammer emphasizes hands-on learning in his course. A recent report from the National Science Foundation warns that most of the thousands of schoolteachers returning to their classrooms this month were ill-prepared during their undergraduate years to teach science to their students. The report, "Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology," is generating widespread agreement that much improv

Thomas Durso
Sep 15, 1996


'HOW SCIENCE WORKS': William Hammer emphasizes hands-on learning in his course.
A recent report from the National Science Foundation warns that most of the thousands of schoolteachers returning to their classrooms this month were ill-prepared during their undergraduate years to teach science to their students.

The report, "Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology," is generating widespread agreement that much improvement is needed in teaching science to undergraduates. However, several scientists contend that the document does not go far enough in describing the educational system's faults and recommending corrections.

Even so, the implications for academic scientists are significant, with "Shaping the Future" calling for greater collaboration with other academic departments, an increase in hands-on learning, and an altered faculty reward system that emphasizes teaching.

While few fault the teaching of science to science majors, most future teachers major in other subjects. "We...

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