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Ottawa, Science Council of Canada, c1982.
Distributed by the Science Council of Canada, 100 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, ON, K1P5M1.
135pp, paper, free.
ISBN 0-662-11989-4.

Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

On March 7, 1981 a symposium took place in Montreal organized jointly by the Science Council of Canada and the Association des professeurs de sciences du Quebec on the subject of science teaching. During the course of this symposium, science teachers, specialists in the teaching of science, and researchers expressed their opinions on the past and the present state of science teaching in Quebec, on current problems experienced from the primary to the university level, and on the possible future directions it could take. These proceedings were originally published in French under the title, Les sciences au Quebec: quelle education?

When one reads the word "proceedings" on the dust jacket of a publication, more often than not little enthusiasm is generated for its contents. More long and tedious ramblings of esoteric material that only the elite of the intellectual class would find interesting or even bother to read, such a description does not apply to these.

The text begins with a foreword followed by five sections dealing with the speeches of the participants and concludes with two appendices. A few pertinent tables and charts are sprinkled throughout the work. The print is double-spaced pica type, easily readable.

The symposium focused primarily on the teaching of science, but the concerns and conclusions of its participants extend well beyond the field of science, penetrating all aspects and levels of modern education. The challenges it makes can be seen from a few quotations: ". . .teachers, no longer simply repositories of knowledge, are becoming classroom animators; the classroom itself is changing from a row of seats to a laboratory." And again, [the student] has no place to channel energies and interests. This obviously leads to boredom and resentment on the part of the student towards the school system which, in extreme cases, can eventually lead to violent acts of wanton destruction." Another speaker said, "We need to create a teaching method that will provide the mind with no answers, no safety net, but with a question through which the anguish of change is visible... ." "People will no longer accept that the purpose of knowledge is to increase power or possessions; they will want to contribute to improving the environment, the conditions of existence and work so that they can 'be more.'"

These few excerpts but sample the many stimulating ideas and creative suggestions arising from this group. The thrust given at the symposium should assist teachers in all fields by providing them with ideas for improving their own teaching methods. Apart from the somewhat distorted "Symposium Feedback" by Raymond Duchesne, this joint venture is well worth the reading and study by any serious minded teacher at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H. S., Chomedey, QB.
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