Nature of Science

This course introduces science to the education students: science itself is the object of this course.

Science is the achievement of humanity that is as much cherished as is mystified, considered as abstract and universal while being objectified as particular and useful: theory for some and tool for some, glorified by some and questioned by some. Science is an inevitable aspect of human life today, it is necessary to have an understanding of what it is and what it stands for: science is an integral part of the school curriculum. Education thereby demands a thorough understanding of science: so that students learn and teachers teach science, not something else under the garb of the authority and autonomy of science. This course introduces science to the education students: science itself is the object of this course. To know science, of course, is to know the content of science. But the content of science – theories in science, for example – do not stand in a simple and direct relation with the human experience. To know science is to grasp the complex ways in which theories and things relate to thought and practice. Lack of adequate grasp of these complex of relationships underpins various documented misconceptions among science learners. In other words, to learn the content of science it is necessary to internalise the epistemology and ontology of science – it is to learn the nature and structure of knowledge in science: how science develops and to what ends, and what is the status of scientific knowledge with respect to the natural- empirical and cultural-human world. Inadequate or naïve understanding of the nature of science puts prospects of science learning in serious jeopardy. This course thus focuses on the nature of science, while the other course in the dyad focuses on the content and pedagogy of science.