ERIC Number: ED414205
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Jun
21st Century Thinking and Science Education.
Mashhadi, Azam; Han, Christine
Western culture's sense of reality has been shaped to a large extent by a mechanistic science world view. Such a viewpoint still dominates the thinking promoted by school science. Quantum theory is the most successful physical theory that has been conceptualized, yet Newtonian thought is still one of the main pillars on which the present-day curriculum is based. At the same time, educational theories regarding science teaching have largely been based on out-moded eighteenth century conceptions of the physical universe. Since a primary goal of science education is the development of a "scientific world view," the challenge for 21st century science education lies in devising an educational theory that incorporates understandings achieved in quantum physics. At the very least this involves posing a scientific world view that has not permeated school science. Students have been socialized into perceiving the world as a Newtonian world consisting of three-dimensional space, unidirectional and independent time, and interactions between independently existing objects. Science teaching has a major role in molding students' world views by providing concepts that impose some meaning on the world--'reality' is given sense, order and coherence. It should do this in a way that not only allows students to make sense of reality but also in a way that reflects the best current understanding of reality that is available in science. It is therefore argued that the goal of science education should be to speed up the rate of diffusion of current scientific insights about the nature of reality so that these are incorporated into students' modes of talking and perceiving (i.e., a 21st century mode of thought). Contains 73 references. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual International Conference on Thinking (7th, Singapore, June 1-6, 1997).