Review of "Science for Children" Authors: Marilyn Fleer and Tim Hardy Publisher: Prentice Hall, Australia, Pty Ltd, Sydney (1996) Reviewed by W. P. Palmer.
This book is being reviewed for an audience of chemists, very few of whom will teach in primary schools. It was written for pre-service and in-service teachers, mainly in early childhood and primary school contexts. A number of readers may have young children of their own or indeed may be amongst that brave group of chemists who venture into primary schools to tell children there about chemistry. The word "chemistry" does not occur in the index and chemistry as a subject appears in a rather negative light on pages 6 and pages 143-4. The book concentrates on teaching methods and our knowledge of the ways in which children learn. There is some information about carrying out experiments in science, though this is not the focus. The authors rightly assume is that there are other texts that list interesting experiments. The book is divided into three parts- Foundations for developing a personal approach: Exploring different teaching approaches: Developing and evaluating a science program. Each of these sections is well-written and interesting to prospective or experienced teachers. I find the large middle section of the book of particular value for my pre-service teachers. It concentrates on the different methods of teaching, which for convenience are labelled scientific skills- scientific knowledge/ transmission- Exploration and discovery- conceptual change. These methodologies are then discussed under a heading - constructing a personal approach. The book balances these different approaches well. Overall the book is excellent for those readers with some interest in primary education or even for those who might just want to know what primary science teaching is like nowadays. BILL PALMER Review in Chemistry in Australia, 65(7)19, 1998
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