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Against science education: the aims of science education and their connection to school science curricula

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Davson-Galle, Peter (2008) Against science education: the aims of science education and their connection to school science curricula. In: Education Research Trends. Nova Publishers, New York, pp. 1-30. ISBN 978-1-60456-640-6

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Abstract

To clarify: in this chapter I will speak only of compulsory science education in schools; much of what I say will not transfer across to either science electives in schools or to undergraduate science. Such science education, like all compulsory education, is an exercise in force against students. Overriding individual autonomy in this way is not to be lightly done and should involve appeal to aims that are of sufficient importance for the individual, or the group/society, to outweigh such loss of freedom over one's own mind's contents. Moreover, the loss of freedom is guaranteed; in order to outweigh it, the benefits aimed at should not just be of sufficient moral importance but be attainable with sufficient probability for a suffient proportion of students. Finally, to justify the imposition of science education requires not just the probable achievement of ends that are of sufficient importance to outweigh the loss of freedom that is their cost but the absence of better candidates that might occupy the same "time-slot" of lost freedom. All very vague, admittedly, and it is the burden of this chapter to examine this issue in further detail as an exercise in sustained argumentation. My contention will be that such argumentation in justification of compulsory science education cannot be satisfactorily advanced at the moment and, in any event, does not seem to have been yet advanced in the extant literature. Accordingly, as compulsory school science education is without a satisfactory available warrant, it should be excised pending the provision of one.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: philosophy of education, aims of education, science education, compulsory education, student autonomy, aims of science education, free schooling, science curriculum
Publisher: Nova Publishers
Page Range: pp. 1-30
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2008 02:09
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:50
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/7553
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