[EAS]Perceptions of Scientists

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue May 15 18:46:05 EDT 2001

Subject:   Perceptions of Scientists

Dear Colleagues -


This British article, recommended by a friend (where else does one get
the good stuff?), makes worthwhile reading on the subject of how
children's perceptions of scientists and science are formed. To some
extent engineers share the "wacky" stereotypes of scientists.

Have we, I was led to wonder, come very far from the Kindergarten
exercises that one of my children was asked to do (before we changed
their school). Pictures of a Mommy and Daddy in the center of the page
were surrounded by pictures of a hammer, iron & ironing board, etc.
and the children were asked to draw lines from person to associated
implement. It confused our children and outraged us, because my wife
is a potter, had done woodworking and even some building framing, and
our kids couldn't understand why they weren't supposed to connect
Mommy with the hammer.

Stereotypes start early, and insidiously easily amidst the social
clustering of children's lives.


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