Understanding Frameworks

                          Process-Oriented Science

What is it?


By a process-oriented approach, this author refers to any curriculum structure (ex. unit, lesson) that is centered around students doing science or gaining a better understanding on how science is truly done. Unlike more traditional approaches that are often content depended and lecture dominated, students focus on activities, projects and other active lesson structures. (This) science class mimics the actions and mentalities of real scientists and citizens of science rather than of lecturers and traditional students (Kolodner et al., 2003). Science class becomes an arena for constructing knowledge rather than passively transmitting knowledge. Science class becomes real, opinionated and inspirational rather than abstract, authoritative  and boring. Science class becomes a learner-centred community of collaborative and sometimes competitive students rather than followers. Science class become more than science class. It becomes technology, social studies, writing, math and more.


Why Should it be Implemented?


The rising amount of evidence that links the current content-based approach to science education to the multiple failures in contemporary K-12 science education (Slavin, 2007), the growing number of social and environmental crises in current society that in turn demand not mere scientific knowledge but broader student literacy of multiple domains especially learning processes relating to a partnership between science and other fields (Alsop, & Pedretti, 2001) as well as the continual frustration of many educators to implement an engaging science curriculum, are all indeed reason enough to explore an alternative approach to school curriculum.

But even more, plenty of evidence reveals that a process-oriented approach is not simply a relief to the current failing curriculum, but also possess many merits to itself. A process-based science curriculum is more suited to teaching students how real science is practiced. .Further, a process-oriented approach that is often centered around issues than scientific concepts also serves to heighten relations with many other people in society including engineers, business people, politicians and many more. (Pedretti & Nazir, 2010).

A Strategic Approach is Recommended

In order to more successfully implement a process-based approach to science curriculum, this author strongly advocates for –strategy-. As many educators have pointed out, any educational structure framework is high subjective and contextual (Carr, & Kemmis, 1985, p. 38,39). There cannot be one recipe for improving all teachers self-efficacy. Consequently, it is of extreme importance that educators not only choose wisely but modify any of the suggested frameworks to meet better the needs of their learners and learning environments.

As well, the educator may notice a significant amount of overlapping among the processes. This is intentional to reflect the holistic nature of science and learning itself.

Consequently, educators may find it convenient if not critical to merge elements of one framework with or even within (elements) of (an)other framework(s).


For instance, teachers may find it feasible to implement the knowledge building framework as a step or even base in/for any steps that involve knowledge construction in the other frameworks.


In addition, the writer must stress content is –not- to be ignored (though it is emphasized less). As the educator sees fits, content could be injected into various stages of any framework. Equally feasible, the educator might choose to delay a framework-approach to a later point within a unit until sufficient amount of critical background knowledge as been addressed.


             In the process, the strategic framework based-approach, argued here does not become one isolated nor absolute approach to curriculum. Rather it becomes an emphasized medium or direction for learning, having sufficient flexibility.


Five frameworks have been highlighted in this site (so far!). They can be accessed under the frameworks tab above.

1.     The Inquiry Framework- students explore answers to question by engaging in science

2.      The Design Framework- students address a problem or challenge in society by making technology

3.      The Correlational Studies Framework – students carry out a natural investigation to examine for relationships between on or more variables

4.   The Problem Solving Framework- students address a problem by creating and implementing a general solution strategy of various sorts

5. Knowledge Building Framework- students collaborate as a collective to debate and validate knowledge




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