A global dimension to science education in schools
A global dimension to science education in schools

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A global dimension to science education in schools

1. Introduction

1.4 Global approaches

1.4.1 Global science in the classroom

Other cultures have had flourishing examples of science that should be much more widely known by pupils… Pupils can be helped to see that science is a cultural activity, and it is inevitably the case that different cultures produce different sciences.

Reiss (2000) p. 17

There are many ways of helping students appreciate that science is a global pursuit.

In Activity 4 you are asked to consider a variety of ways of incorporating the global dimension in the work of your department.

Activity 4

Listen to the audio clip below in which a teacher from Oxfordshire continues his conversation and tells of the ways his department is planning to incorporate a global dimension into science lessons.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 2
Skip transcript: Audio 2

Transcript: Audio 2

So, I know that you are doing a project now within your own school trying to introduce some of these ideas into your day-to-day classroom teaching so can you talk a little bit about that?
Yes, I’ve got several projects which are on the go ranging from starters for people doing their own project work and to debates. Starters would be something like I put an image or a picture of one of the scientists that I have mentioned which will challenge their perceptions of a scientist that they feel and what the scientist would actually look like. Projects dealing with how they will be given a particular person to research and lookup and then present whether their findings were they the real ones to discover it or not. Debates I found to be quite a good way to do it because I could arrange a debate about whether it was Al-Haythum who made all the ground-breaking discoveries or was it Snell or alternatively to look at the issue of William Harvey and ibn Nafis which is... where there is a lot of resources on that, em...
I know that you have produced quite a lot of materials and resources that are going to be included in the schemes of work at your school but can you give us examples of the things that you have been doing?
Yes, the light module, for example, has a lot of stuff now about ibn Al-Haythum who did the Sin i and Sin r and the angle of reflection, magnetism has a big chunk by the Chinese contributions to be the first compass that they invented and the concept of friction which Avempace, an Arab scientist, made lots of headway on that topic.
Good, do you are already beginning to get stuff into your schemes of work?
But I also know that you have talked to other teachers in your department and your own head of department. Can you just say a little bit more about that?
Yes, I have spoken to the head of department and got a lot of support from her. She has been very supportive and other teachers have been happy to get involved and have offered to trial some of the material and give me feedback on how well it has gone.
End transcript: Audio 2
Audio 2
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Discuss the extent to which you would like to include the global dimension in the work of your department. In the light of your discussion and the ideas from the Oxfordshire school, consider these questions.

  • Where in your schemes of work could you incorporate some of the activities you have seen in this unit? Could ‘global anecdotes’ be included, too? A starting point might be to refer to the discoveries described in the quiz in Activity 2 at appropriate places in schemes of work.

  • Would it be worth setting up a simple system to collect news of interesting and relevant contemporary developments in science? Could each ‘story’ be linked to a scheme of work?

  • What other opportunities exist for promoting the global dimension in science, for example, through display or student projects?

As well as using resources like those in Section 3 ‘In the classroom’, you could try:

  • telling anecdotes – when studying light, you might mention that, 700 years ago, Quatb al-din from Iraq explained that rainbows are made when light rays are reflected and refracted by atmospheric water;

  • referring to news stories – about Nigeria's new satellite and about Brazilian researchers' claims that coffee makes sperm swim faster, both of which relate directly to the curriculum. Click the links below to view these articles.

Click "view document" to open 'Nigeria Satellite Takes Images of Nigeria, Liberia'.

View document [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Click "view document" to open 'Coffee makes sperm speed up'.

Some teachers incorporate anecdotes and add newspaper cuttings to schemes of work. This enables the global dimension to permeate science teaching and learning without being a time-consuming ‘add-on’.


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