The Re-Emergence of Values in Science Education
Publication Date :
1 Jan 2007
Issues relating to values have always had a place in the school science curriculum. Sometimes this has been only in terms of the inclusion of topics such as 'the nature of science' and/or 'scientific method' and/or particular intentions for laboratory work that relate to 'scientific method.' Sometimes it has been much broader, for example in curricula with STS emphases. Of importance to aspects of this proposal is that different countries/cultures have had different traditions in terms of the place of values in the school [science] curriculum. One obvious very broad difference of this form is the central place in [science] education thinking in many European countries of bildung, and the complete absence of this construct from most [science] curriculum thinking in English speaking contexts. There are numbers of such country/cultural differences. In the 1990s many countries moved towards various conceptualizations of Outcomes Based Education - OBE (sometimes so labelled and sometimes not). It was usual (but not universal) for OBE focused science curricula to have constrained views of the values that should be implicit and explicit in curriculum; that is views concerned only with 'the nature of science' and 'scientific method' (both usually seen as quite unproblematic). Currently there are a number of education systems that are changing again, and choosing to move away from Outcomes Based Education (for example, South Africa and several Australian states). One of the most interesting features of many of these movements is the re-embracing of a wider view of the science curriculum, including a reconsideration of the nature and place of the values associated with science in the purposes for and approaches to science education.