Refocusing the Revolution: A New Research Agenda for Geoscience Education
The following research agenda ought to be pursued by geoscience education researchers:
1. Are there cultural aspects of geoscience that discourage diverse students from completing such a degree?
2. How do equity issues in science education affect students' decisions to pursue a geoscience degree as opposed to biology or other fields?
3. How are more humanistic careers, such as teaching high school Earth science, viewed by students and geoscience faculty?
For example, historically the geosciences have failed to produce a critical mass of qualified teacher-advocates to secure a foothold in secondary education. Why? Biology education faced similar low status at the turn of the 20th century, yet has risen to become the highest enrolled science course in high schools nationally with the most number of certified teachers (Lewis, 2008). Without revealing and addressing students' perceptions of geology, the geoscience community may have inadvertently limited access to those who have already been enculturated into scientific practices. Ultimately, the community must broaden the use of a geoscience degree to attract a greater diversity of students and through increased enrollment be better equipped to fuel the revolution in Earth and space science education with more undergraduate majors and well-qualified teachers.