Science as a human endeavour: teachers’ understanding relating to the implementation of this element into primary and secondary classrooms
Logan, MR 2012, 'Science as a human endeavour: teachers’ understanding relating to the implementation of this element into primary and secondary classrooms', paper presented to 43rd Annual Australasian Science Education Research Association ASERA Conference, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Qld., 27-30 June.
Many Australian students, particularly secondary students, perceive school science to lack relevance (Goodrum & Rennie, 2007). Science is often trivialised in schools where it is reduced to a ‘set of procedures’ rather than introducing students to the more human aspects of science such as ‘emotions and imagination’ (Jenkins, 2000, p.213). The Science as a Human Endeavour (SHE) strand of the Draft Australian Science Curriculum attempts to address the relevance of science by encouraging students’ understanding of the human elements, such as: the “unique nature of science”, ethical and social implications, the contributions of people over time, and “how science can be used to inform decisions and actions” (ACARA, 2011, p 5). The aim of this research study was to examine teachers’ responses to the SHE strand and how this strand interrelates with the ‘science understanding’ and ‘science inquiry skills’ strands of the Draft Australian Science Curriculum. This paper reports on a small-scale study involving ‘in depth’ interviews with four teachers (2 primary school teachers; 2 secondary school teachers). The findings revealed some innovative approaches for integrating SHE elements into science lessons but also teachers’ concerns about addressing these elements. These concerns related to lack of familiarity with the strand, assessment of SHE elements, and the perceived inability of the primary and junior secondary students to be able to understand the sophisticated ideas surrounding SHE. These teachers believed that support would be required to assist them to address the SHE strand and to be able to break down these aspects in order to promote primary and junior secondary science students’ understanding of these elements.