ERIC Number: EJ1048425
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: N/A
Diversity without Silos: The Confluence of the Social and Scientific Teaching of Diversity
Page, Scott E.
Independent School, v73 n4 Sum 2014
Students drink from two separate streams. When studying "diversity" in political science, sociology, and history, they learn about demographic trends, changing notions of identity, and attempts to overcome historical injustices. They learn to view human differences through historical, legal, moral, and ethical lenses. These teachings stress normative themes: fairness, equality, justice, and inclusion. When these same students confront the topic of diversity in science classes, they approach it from a different standpoint. In biology, they learn how genetic and phenotypic diversity within evolutionary systems underpin adaptation and speciation. In ecology, they read about how species diversity promotes ecosystem robustness. In chemistry, they learn how fewer than 100 stable elements combine to produce an endless diversity of compounds--from water to harmful concoctions such as DDT. In mathematics, they learn the value of diverse problem representations--why, for spherical problems, one should use polar coordinates, but in more rectangular domains, one should stick to a Cartesian representation. In engineering classes, they learn how the specialization of skills and knowledge speeds learning and drives technological growth. Professor Scott Page explains how these two streams can become one. He submits that teachers should encourage a confluence of the normative historical and social lessons of diversity together with the more positive scientific curricula. By creating this confluence, they will contribute to the advancement of society and change for the better how students measure and value themselves. (As a by-product, teachers may also alter how their schools admit students and hire and promote staff.) He concludes that what matters most today is how one merges one's skills, knowledge, and abilities with the skills, knowledge, and abilities of others.
Descriptors: Cultural Differences, Biodiversity, Science Education, Social Sciences, Science and Society, Integrated Curriculum
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A