BiographyStephen J. Farenga is Professor of Science Education at the City University of New York. He earned his doctorate at Columbia University. His research and writing interests involve making science content accessible and comprehensible to the general public. In particular, his areas of specialization include cognition in science, the development of spatial thinking skills in STEM, and the development of STEM-related dispositions. He has published numerous articles and is co-author of Spatial Intelligence: Why It Matters from Birth through Adolescence(2017), The Importance of Average: Playing the Game of School to Increase Success and Achievement(2010), Knowledge Under Construction: The Importance of Play in Developing Children’s Spatial and Geometric Thinking (2007). He also co-edited Alternatives to Privatizing Public Education and Curriculum(2017) and the Encyclopedia of Education and Human Development (2005). Professor Farenga has served as an NSF principal investigator and co-principal investigator on grants that investigate science instruction, exploratory practices in STEM, and the retention of science education majors and teachers.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
The Development of Scientific Thinking, Research Methods in Science Education, Education Policy, Science Education Pedagogy, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and Assessment.
Published: Apr 06, 2017 by Alternatives to Privatizing Public Education and Curriculum
Authors: Farenga, S. J., & Ness, D.
This chapter examines the contrived events that have been used to support a testing regime to usurp the abilities of education programs and states' rights to establish appropriate teaching credentials for programs of education.
Published: Jun 03, 2016 by Improving Schools
Authors: Ness, D., Farenga, S. J., Shah, V., & Garofalo, S. G.
In this article, the authors examine the research on reform efforts in science education and several past science education reform initiatives, which are then placed in the context of the time when each was endorsed and sanctioned. Based on unifying strands of inquiry regarding past science education reform efforts, the authors conclude with four general recommendations for progressive reform that are believed to be beneficial to authentic science learning experiences.
Published: Apr 07, 2016 by American Journal of Play
Authors: Ness, D., & Farenga, S. J.
The authors consider the strengths and weaknesses of three different visuo-spatial constructive play object (VCPO) types—blocks, bricks, and plank—and their impact on the development of creativity in spatial thinking and higher learning during free play.
Published: Aug 13, 2015 by American Biology Teacher
Authors: Farenga, S. J., Ness, D, & Hutchinson, M.
Learning about stem cells within the context of treating pet illness or injury is an additional way for teachers to discuss the integration of science, technology, and veterinary medicine. We explain how practitioners in veterinary medicine harvest animal stem cells from adipose (fat) tissue in treating pet illness or injury. Further, we narrate how the veterinarian's approach to pet stem cell therapy demonstrates an important step in technological progress in science.
Published: Mar 11, 2015 by Journal of Curriculum Theorizing
Authors: Farenga, S. J., Ness, D., & Sawyer, R.
We argue that the ideological framework surrounding the definition and use of the term average as it relates to academic ability is distorted. We contend that education policy makers and semi-regulatory organizations, for both economic and political reasons, have engineered primarily two initiatives that they want the public to embrace as a means of solidifying a consensus-driven curriculum.