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ERIC Number: EJ925669
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
One Brief, Shining Moment? The Impact of Neo-Liberalism on Science Curriculum in the Compulsory Years of Schooling
Smith, Dorothy Veronica
International Journal of Science Education, v33 n9 p1273-1288 2011
The past 20 years or so have seen ongoing concern for the nature of science education in the Anglophone developed world. A particular focus of this concern has been the need to find new ways to frame science curricula that will engage students, yet it is proving difficult to achieve this goal. In this article I argue that the impact on science curriculum of a societal shift to neo-liberalism and an attendant policy shift to outcomes-based education should be explicitly acknowledged; further, that the forms of curriculum that emerge from neo-liberalism are unlikely to provide the engaging and inclusive science education needed today. To illustrate the impact of the neo-liberal societal shift on science curriculum I compare an exemplary, inclusive and innovative science curriculum document from the 1980s with its outcomes-based successor from the 1990s. I show that in this case the shift to the outcomes-based form significantly restricted the possibilities for framing science education to respond to the local community, restricting a vision of science as a social institution; further, it framed each learner as an individual to the exclusion of community while reducing options for framing learning to meet individual needs. I argue that it is important for the future disciplinary well-being of science, and for the well-being of society on the whole, that both science and its scientists be seen as socially located. Science curriculum documents must initiate and support this perspective.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Canada; United Kingdom; United States