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Changes in Science Education
Providing an overview of current issues in UK science education, this unit examines...
Providing an overview of current issues in UK science education, this unit examines what type of science the curriculum should cover and for what purpose. The unit will introduce you to practical problems in the delivery of an effective science curriculum, and particular questions at all three educational tiers - primary, secondary and tertiary - will be touched on.
After studying this unit, you should be able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of problems associated with defining the Nature of Science;
- write in an informed way about the purposes of compulsory science education;
- be aware of the educational complications and implications associated with the phrase ‘the public understanding of science’;
- show an ability to comment critically on curriculum proposals that aim to promote science citizenship/scientific literacy;
- provide examples of how specific scientific understanding might be used by lay individuals in a practical context;
- explain how the uses of the term ‘scientific models’ are variable and complex and the pedagogic implications of this;
- identify factors that have to date inhibited the wide-scale adoption of curricula geared to the needs of science citizenship;
- describe some of the practical problems associated with the introduction of science into the (England & Wales) primary National Curriculum;
- have a preliminary understanding of issues associated with the teaching of science at secondary level, especially practical work and problems of teacher support;
- distinguish (as far as is possible) between vocational and ‘academic’ approaches to science teaching and differences in outcomes.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Unit overview
- 2 What is science?
- 3 Problems of teaching the Nature of Science
- 4 Who is science education for?
- 5 Education for democracy?
- 6 The public understanding of science
- 7 A way ahead? – Beyond 2000
- 8 What are the chances that scientific literacy will prevail?
- 9 Evidence of progress?
- 10 ‘Science for all?’ A look at some contexts
- 11 Primary science
- 12 Science in secondary schools
- 13 Post-compulsory science education
- 14 Final thoughts
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Changes in Science Education
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
This unit provides an account of the major developments in the planning and delivery of the school science curriculum in the UK in a succinct and approachable way. The unit was written in 2003 and although there have been a number of developments in the teaching of school science since that time, in particular the introduction of new science courses at GCSE level and beyond, the thinking behind such innovations is outlined in what follows, as it describes the transition between traditional and new style curricula.
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806)
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 31st May 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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