chapter  2
6 Where’s the science?
Understanding the form and function of workplace science
ByPeter Chin, Hugh Munby, Nancy Hutchinson, Jenny Taylor, Fiona Clark
Pages 2

This chapter reports the findings of a study that focused on the extent to which

high school co-operative (co-op) education students recognized the science found

in science-rich workplaces such as a medical laboratory, a veterinary clinic and a

dental office. It also explores how these high school co-op students conceptualized

the science of the workplace (i.e. workplace science) and its relationship to the

science they learned in school (i.e. school science). As shown later, the co-op

students were able to assume successfully many of the duties associated with the

role of a laboratory technician, veterinary technician and dental assistant, but they

saw few relationships between workplace science and school science. Some

researchers might see this as a failure of a major objective of work-based

programmes. In contrast, a significant outcome from our in-depth analysis of the

data from case studies in each of the aforementioned settings has been the develop-

ment of a theoretical framework aimed at understanding the form and function of

workplace science and how it is different from school science. Just as importantly,

our theoretical framework is suggestive of the kinds of instructional interventions

that can enhance students’ understandings of the form and function of workplace

science and its relationship to school science.