STEFNUR OG STRAUMAR j N ÁTT Ú R U F R ÆÐI M E N N T U N
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This article is divided into three parts. In the first part a summary of major
developments in science education since the 1950s is presented and the conclusion
reached that most recently there has been an emphasis on the "three C's" - curri-
culum, comparison and constructivism. Many countries have in the last 10-15 years
prepared national curricula of varying structure and detail. A large number have
taken or are taking part in large-scale international comparative studies such as
SIMS, TIMSS and the OECD PISA study. Since the 1970s research in science educa-
tion has increasingly looked at learning, often with a focus on alternative concep-
tions or conceptual change. Increasing attention is being paid to social constructi-
vism and ideas introduced by Vygotsky.
The second part of the paper looks at a selection of research moving from
leaming in general to leaming in classrooms to the continued professional develop-
ment of science teachers, with particular attention being paid to some interesting
and persuasive research based firmly on social constructivism.
In the final section some features of the new national curriculum in science in
Iceland are introduced and some issues presented. To what extent can one teach
according to a standards-based curriculum yet work according to constructivist
principles being advocated in recent research findings and professional applica-
tions of those findings?
M. Allyson Macdonald
er prófessor og forstöðumaður
Rannsóknarstofnunar Kennaraháskóía íslands.