Humanizing Science Education

May 13th, 2004 | RESEARCH

This paper argues that the diverse curriculum reform agendas associated with science education are strongly and critically associated with the educational characteristics of the humanities. The article begins with a survey of interpretations of the distinctive contribution which the humanities make to educational purposes. From this survey four general characteristics of the humanities are identified: an appeal to an autonomous self with the right and capacity to make independent judgements and interpretations; indeterminacy in the subject matter of these judgements and interpretations; a focus on meaning, in the context of human responses, actions, and relationships, and especially on the ethical, aesthetic, and purposive; and finally, the possibility of commonality in standards of judgement and interpretation, under conditions of indeterminacy. Inquiry and science technology and society (STS) orientated curriculum development agendas within science education are explored in the light of this analysis. It is argued that the four characteristics identified are central to the educational purposes of these and other less prominent modes of curriculum development in science, though not unproblematically so. In the light of this discussion the prognosis and challenges for science curriculum development are explored.


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Team Members

James Donnelly, Author, University of Leeds


Publication: Science Education
Volume: 88
Number: 5
Page(s): 762

Related URLs

Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Higher Education Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs