The place of the natural sciences in the modern curriculum: the view from modern science

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Woolcott, G 2013, 'The place of the natural sciences in the modern curriculum: the view from modern science', The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 269-278.


In modern education, stand alone subjects are allied to two main curriculum streams that diverged during the industrial revolution, the humanities, developed from the social and behavioural sciences, and the natural sciences. The influenced of trade-based economics on the development of subjects within these streams has contributed to issues related to a lack of cohesiveness within and across subjects and across the two streams.

This paper explores scientific approaches to the examination of concepts relevant to education, such as learning and memory, intelligence and creativity, related to subjects taught in both the humanities and the natural sciences. Such research reflects a general level of interest in the combination of studies in two streams, for example, in combinations of studies in cognitive psychology and integrative biology, as well as an interest in preventing dead-ends where research in one discipline has already refuted the approach taken in another. This paper explores the usefulness of a broad information processing approach to cognition and education, one that considers learning and memory in terms of matter and energy pathways. This novel approach supports recent scientific approaches to studies of education, but supports also the holistic approach to teaching that is well developed in the humanities.

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