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3. Topics: History of Science & Science Teaching [Prof. Maurines, France]

Start Date:
25. June 2015, 10:30
Finish date:
25. June 2015, 11:15



Introducing a Reflection on Science in Science Teaching: Purposes and Strategies 



These last twenty years, curricula at the primary and secondary school levels have undergone many reforms all around the world. It is not only a question any more of training scientists but also of allowing all students to acquire a scientific and cultural background that allows them to become responsible citizens, capable of understanding and taking action in a world where science and technology occupy a predominant place. The problem is also to cope with the loss of interest in scientific careers by encouraging vocations. In order to address these educational issues, curricula developers put not only the accent on scientific knowledge to be learnt but also on methods and skills to be acquired and attitudes to be interiorized. Emphasize is also put on knowledge about science and scientific activity. In particular, students and future citizens are expected to be able to distinguish between what is science and what is not, and develop skills to conduct complex reasoning and argumentation in order to contribute to socio-scientific debates in a critically and responsible way. The epistemological dimension of science teaching has attracted the attention of many science educators and researchers, in particular in English-spoken countries but not only. In my talk, on the basis of the studies developed in our laboratory and of those conducted abroad, I will outline the main questions explored and the main results obtained in the field of research designed by the acronym NoS (Nature of Science). I will discuss the different positions adopted by researchers in order to characterize the NoS for teaching purpose and show that the representations of science of students and teachers are more consistent with a past vision of science (empirico-inductive, naïve realistic) than with an informed contemporary vision.

    I will point out that the epistemological issues of scientific education are more or less addressed in curricula, are often implicit in terms of pedagogical goals, content and activities. In conclusion, I will emphasize two strategies proposed in order to enhance students’ views of the NoS, the inquiry-based teaching and the introduction of elements of HPSS (History, Philosophy, Sociology of Science), and give some results on the implementation of innovative pedagogical units.


Selected References

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  • Désautels, J. & Larochelle, M. (1989). Qu’est-ce que le savoir scientifique ? Points de vue d’adolescents et d’adolescentes. Les presses de l’université de Laval.
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  • Matthews, M. R. (2012). Changing the Focus: From Nature of Science (NOS) to Features to Science (FOS). In Khine M. S. (Ed.), Advances in Nature of Science Research, pp.3-26, Springer.
  • Maurines, L. & Beaufils, D. (2011). Un enjeu de l’histoire des sciences dans l’enseignement : l’image de la nature des sciences et de l’activité scientifique. Revue de didactique des sciences et des technologies, n°3, pp.271-304.
  • Maurines, L. & Gallezot, M. & Ramage, M.-J. & Beaufils, D. (2013). La nature des sciences dans les programmes de seconde de physique-chimie et de sciences de la vie et de la Terre. Revue de didactique des sciences et des technologies, n°7, pp. 19-52.
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