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© 2009

Progressing Science Education

Constructing the Scientific Research Programme into the Contingent Nature of Learning Science

  • Keith S. Taber
Book

Part of the Science & Technology Education Library book series (CTISE, volume 37)

About this book

Introduction

Exploring one of the central themes in science education theory, this volume examines how science education can be considered as a scientific activity within a broad post-positivist notion of science.

Many students find learning science extremely problematic, whatever level of education they have reached. At the end of the 1970s a new approach to tackling learning difficulties in science was developed, drawing on ideas from psychology and cognitive science, and centred on the way students build up new knowledge in reference to their existing ideas. ‘Constructivism’ became the dominant paradigm in science education research for two decades, spawning a vast body of literature reporting aspects of learners’ ideas in different science topics.

However, Constructivism came under fire as it was recognised that the research did not offer immediate and simple prescriptions for effective science teaching. The whole approach was widely criticised, in particular by those who saw it as having ‘anti-science’ leanings.

In this book, the notion of scientific research programmes is used to understand the development, limitations and potential of constructivism. It is shown that constructivist work in science education fits into a coherent programme exploring the contingencies of learning science. The author goes further to address criticisms of constructivism; evaluate progress in the field; and suggest directions for future research. It is concluded that constructivism has provided the foundations for a progressive research programme that continues to guide enquiry into learning and teaching science.

Keywords

Contingency in learning Lakatos Science Education as a Research Field Scientific Research Programmes Teaching and Learning science constructivism in Science Education science science education

Editors and affiliations

  • Keith S. Taber
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeUK

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Progressing Science Education
  • Book Subtitle Constructing the Scientific Research Programme into the Contingent Nature of Learning Science
  • Authors Keith S. Taber
  • Series Title Science & Technology Education Library
  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2431-2
  • Copyright Information Springer Netherlands 2009
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Education (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-481-2430-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-8501-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-90-481-2431-2
  • Series ISSN 1572-5987
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 400
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Science Education
  • Buy this book on publisher's site

Reviews

From the reviews:

“In Progressing Science Education, Keith Taber argues that constructivism is in good health, that its researchers’ shared assumptions of how learning is perceived to occur have been unassailable to date, and that continued new findings and refinement of theory warrant its continuation. …  For the new researcher, those who teach researchers, and those who wish to find contexts and support for their own research, this densely written and highly indexed review of research in Science Education provides a resource … .” (Kirk Dorion, Teacher Development, Vol. 14 (4), November, 2010)

“Progressing Science Education … examines broadly conceptual change and constructivist developments. … Taber has produced a book that captures an important phase of research in science education (conceptual change) in a place (England) and time (1978-1983) where he and others forged their skills and developed assumptions. The book provides a good overview of research on science learning and thus would be a valuable read for new entrants to science education research.” (Richard Duschl, Science and Education, November, 2011)

“Taber has produced a book that captures an important phase of research in science education (conceptual change) in a place (England) and time (1978-1983) where he and others forged their skills and developed assumptions. The book provides a good overview of research on science learning and thus would be a valuable read for new entrants to science education research.”­­­ (Richard A. Duschl, International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group Newsletter, September, 2011)

“In Progressing Science Education, Keith Taber provides a comprehensive defence of constructivism. He argues that how scientists work within constructivist research into science education may be different from natural science enquiry … This densely written, highly structured, copiously referenced and exhaustively indexed book requires application and dedication from the reader for full appreciation. However, as a resource for researchers this volume will challenge and support their work for years to come.” (Chris Fraser, Education in the North, Vol. 19, 2012)