The Current

Science education in Canada needs national standards and community-focused teaching, says curriculum expert

Friday host Commander Chris Hadfield investigates the future of science education, the future of research funding and humanity's future in space in our special Science edition of The Current.
As Commander of the International Space Station... it was easy for astronaut Chris Hadfield to see the importance of science. But some worry we aren't doing enough here on Earth to inspire students to be curious and think critically. We hear from a panel of experts who say science class should be more than lab coats and petri dishes. 


The Live Lab Series at the Ontario Science Centre is a resource for students hoping to learn more about the Science behind Music -- and how to play the ukulele.

Not all children get the opportunity to learn science so directly. In fact, many students get their science straight from a textbook. And since education is a provincial responsibility, there are no national standards -- experts say it is hard to determine how much Canadian students are learning.

The last OECD international study on education showed a "statistically significant" decline in science performance for Canadian students. And while a new report on scientific literacy by the Canadian Council of Academies places Canada number one out of 35 countries ... it also found that only 42 per cent of Canadians have a basic level of scientific knowledge.

To help us get a better picture how well Canada teaches science, what challenges might be holding us back, and how the country could improve science education, we were joined by a curriculum theorist, an educator of teachers, and a front-line science teacher.

David Blades is a Professor of Science Education and Curriculum Theory at the University of Victoria.

Sheliza Ibrahim Khan is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Trent University.

- Don Edwards is a junior high science teacher at Westminster School in Edmonton.

How well do you think we teach science in schools? Does your school have a Ms. Frizzle or Bill Nye who inspires students to love science? Or would you like to see changes to the curriculum in your province?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Sujata Berry.