Extending a PhysLrnR thread "Informal Science Education" of Feb/March 2003, I should like to return to the question "Should Physics Education Researchers (PER's) concern themselves with Informal Science Education (ISE)?"
In an earlier post [Hake (2003a)] I wrote [bracketed by lines "HHHHHHH. . . ."; see that post for references other than Benezet (1935/36), Urner (2003), and Hake (2004)]:
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH In my opinion ISE might:
(a) serve to dramatize the inadequacies of the U.S. educational system;
(b) help propagate innovative educational ideas such as those discussed by Benezet (1935/36), Fawcett (1938), Arons (see Hake 2004), Lederman (2001), Urner (2003), Kamin (2003), and Allsopp (2003);
(c) provide test grounds for research on innovative physics-education ideas, unfettered by constraints of the educational system.
According to Stacy Miller's (2005) post on EvalTalk:
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM The latest issue of Harvard Family Research Project's "Evaluation Exchange" periodical on evaluation introduces "complementary learning" -- the idea that narrowing the achievement gap requires solid and sustained investments in nonschool learning supports, such as early care and education, families, after school programs, libraries, museums, and other community-based supports. . . . Articles in this issue also highlight promising approaches for evaluating complementary learning practices and programs, both in terms of what outcomes to focus on and what methodologies to use. The issue is available free of charge on our website at <http://www.gse.harvard.edu/hfrp/eval/issue29>. . . . .You can also subscribe to receive future issues free of charge at <http://www.gse.harvard.edu/hfrp/subscribe.html>. OUR NEXT ISSUE WILL BE DEVOTED TO EXAMINING THE LATEST EVALUATION METHODOLOGIES .MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Veteran science/math educator Jack Lochhead recently wrote to me:
"More recently Liping Ma (1999) did some research . . . . which strongly supports the kind of direction Benezet took. The Every Child Left Behind program makes it impossible to do any of this in public schools but you can try it at home."
". . . a new scientific truth . . .(or a new curriculum). . . does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." Max Planck
REFERENCES Benezet, L.P. (1935, 1936). "The Teaching of Arithmetic I, II, III: The Story of an Experiment." Journal of the National Education Association 24(8): 241-244 (1935); 24(9): 301-303 (1935); 25(1): 7-8 (1936). The articles (a) were reprinted in the Humanistic Mathematics Newsletter 6: 2-14 (May 1991); (b) are on the web along with other Benezetia at the Benezet Centre <http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sanjoy/benezet/>. See also Mahajan & Hake (2000).
Ma, L. 1999. "Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Lawrence Erlbaum). For a review of see R. Askey, in "American Educator," Fall 1999; online as a 76 kB pdf at <http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/fall99/amed1.pdf>. "The U.S. Department of Education has just announced the results of an exercise to identify 'exemplary' and 'promising' texts. . . . The criteria used by the Department of Education review should be rewritten now that Liping Ma's book has provided us with a model of what school mathematics should look like."