Children’s view of Scientists in England

Posted on January 21, 2006  Comments (5)

Science ‘not for normal people’, BBC News

The Science Learning Centre in London asked 11,000 pupils for their views on science and scientists.

Around 70% of the 11-15 year olds questioned said they did not picture scientists as “normal young and attractive men and women”.

For those, like me, that believe our future will be better with more scientists and engineers some of the findings are less than ideal:

Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included: “Because you would constantly be depressed and tired and not have time for family”, and “because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female”.

Some of the findings were positive:

They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did “very important work” and 70% thought they worked “creatively and imaginatively”.

A related article from BBC News provides another look at the views of students: Science seen under the right conditions by Dr Daniel Glaser.

Another article on the BBC site talks about one way to encourage more student interest in science, Science ‘must teach experiments’. To interest students in learning about science it is important to have them engaged in physical experiments. We also need to continue to show the connection between science and engineering and the students lives. Providing examples of scientists and engineer that the student relate to (and can see as a friend or a future self) would also help.

5 Responses to “Children’s view of Scientists in England”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Blog Archive » Inspire Students to Study Math and Science
    March 23rd, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

    She does an excellent job presenting her position. And you have to love statement like “when I was young” from a high school student…

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Blog Archive » Scientists and Students
    July 2nd, 2006 @ 9:27 am

    [...] As countries around the globe focus on improving science education I believe encouraging interaction with practising scientists is one (of many) practices that can help. A previous BBC article highlights the lack of actual interaction (or at least that is my belief, I suppose it is possible the students impression was based on real scientists they interacted with) humorously: Children’s view of Scientists in England. Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included: “Because you would constantly be depressed and tired and not have time for family”, and “because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female”. [...]

  3. CuriousCat: Denzel Washington Marketing Science
    May 3rd, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

    The Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Scholar in Neuroscience Awards have been given annually since 2004 by the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles…

  4. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Kids on Scientists: Before and After
    September 4th, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    Fermilab offers some drawing of scientists by seventh graders before and after a visit to Fermilab. Wonderful visuals…

  5. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Protein Synthesis: 1971 Video
    December 2nd, 2009 @ 10:22 am

    [...] Prize for Chemistry and National Medal of Science in 1983). The film does not exactly present the traditional scientist stereotype. It does pretty much present the typical California 1970’s hippie stereotype [...]

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