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distinguish two major traditions / schools of thought –or grand narratives as Lyotard would have put it– in the field.

The present paper looks into the fundamental assumptions of each tradition referring to man, knowledge, society and education and traces the symbolisms included in each of them. Through them it attempts to understand and interpret the structure and organization of the physical sciences school curriculum, the fundamental characteristics of the teaching methods used and mainly the rationale that legitimized their position in the curriculum.

The paper also focuses on the basic elements of criticism against the two traditions and pin-points interesting similarities in the general problematique concerning the broader and more effective use of physical science in the school curriculum.

The contribution of physical sciences in citizenship development is then examined as one of the less explored aspects of this problematique. An explanation is sought as to the reasons why the two traditions have ceded the responsibilities for citizenship development to other disciplines. The influence of the Enlightenment, the anthropocentric character of humanities and social sciences as well as the preparation of teachers in higher education institutions are found to account for this situation.

Finally, following the Popperian epistemological thesis the paper focuses on and explores all those elements in the character of physical sciences that could form a strong ideological and educational basis for a more substantial contribution of the physical sciences to the development of the modern citizen.


Science, citizenship, epistemology, curriculum, educational traditions

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