Towards a Viable Response to COVID-19 from the Science Education Community

Justin Dillon, Lucy Avraamidou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched almost every corner of the planet and continues to impact on lives, livelihoods, economies and cultures. It is both a human and a global phenomenon. Making sense of what is happening requires an understanding of a number of scientific ideas including viruses, transmission, incubation and vaccination. These are life and death issues and yet the public and their political leaders often display a deliberate mistrust of the science and scientists. How might the science education community respond? We pose a series of questions designed to provoke a strong response to COVID-19 from our community and our colleagues: “How well has the science curriculum prepared the world’s public for COVID-19?”; “How much science education should be online from now on?”; “Are we learning from the current situation?”; “Is science education research producing knowledge that protects society from catastrophic events?”; “How should our working practices change to make science education more resilient, more useful and more transparent?”; “What are the ethics and politics of social distancing and how do they affect science education?”; “What pedagogies might we need to turn to in the future?”; and, “What role should business and industry play in funding science education research and development?” In our attempt to stimulate the development of a vision for science education in the post-pandemic era, we offer initial thoughts about moving forward. What we offer is a departure point, an invitation for the community to engage with pressing issues in science education. The main question we pose is the following: What can be done, and what can be done differently? We envision that this paper will provide some guidance to the readers to re-think the complex systems and socio-political contexts within which people come to learn and practice science and to conceptualize these processes through a social justice lens. We argue that a social justice informed approach towards shaping a vision for science education in the post-pandemic era is of paramount importance and that failure to do so will only serve as a way of perpetuating existing inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal for Activist Science and Technology Education
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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