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Changes in Science Education

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Providing an overview of current issues in UK science education, Changes in Science Education is a free course that examines what type of science the curriculum should cover and for what purpose. It will introduce you to the practical problems of delivering an effective science curriculum, touching upon particular questions at all three educational tiers - primary, secondary and tertiary.

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.

By: The Open University

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Changes in Science Education


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This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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)

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