Reviewed by Charles James
Science Education Consultant
As the introduction to Pathways to the Science Standards reads, “It is rare when a profession achieves national consensus in its vision for change.” It is equally rare to find the goals of that vision so practically interpreted for teachers. Pathways provides the guidelines for “moving vision into practice.” Although the book is aimed at high school teachers, its targeted message also can be used to inform parents, administrators, and politicians.
The opening chapters of the book deal with instructional issues central to standards-based instruction. Sequencing of topics, scheduling, and selected learning theories guide the reader through the foundation of the National Science Education Standards. Each topic highlights a number of examples to illustrate the standards under discussion. For instance, the section on School Planning offers examples that support sequencing of topics and developing relevance within sequenced courses.
The guide develops content with an emphasis on integration, common student misconceptions, and instructional style. Each content area describes the Nature of the Learner, the History and Nature of Science, and the Nature of Instruction. Each of these sections elaborates on the essence of the standards-based classrooms--standards suggest the scope, relevant themes and topics suggest the conceptual arrangement, concepts suggest the questions, questions suggest the investigations, investigations suggest the products, and the products suggest the form of assessment.
Throughout the text and on the CD-ROM, comprehensive resource lists are provided. The CD-ROM version contains resources for all three volumes of Pathways. These recommended resources guide the reader to more substantive discussions of each topic. Content-specific areas entitled, A Classroom in Action, further develop instructional perspectives with examples from real classrooms. Although this section is useful, it lacks descriptions of alternative and informal programs for students with special needs and interests.
However, this book is recommended for teachers at all levels--elementary and middle school teachers will benefit from seeing how their students’ learning grows and develops at the high school level. Like its companions, this volume of Pathways sets forth clear guidelines in a thoughtful, accessible format.
Review posted on 1/18/2001