A Reflective Science Education Practice

Why, What, and How?

When the Danish University Law (Videnskabsministeriet, 2003) was reformed, a component was added stating that Danish universities should not only do research and offer education that meet the highest international standards, but that they should, moreover, convey to society research and educational results for the further prosperity of the latter. In the legal text it is further explained that universities shall be obliged to actively exchange knowledge and competence with society, and that this includes an obligation to engage in public debate about important social issues. Apparently, something has changed—a change that seems to include a closer entanglement of academic science and society. In the context of science education at least two questions are thus raised: How is the social role of science changing? And what (if any) implication does this bear for science education?

The argument made here is that a change is indeed taking place; from traditional (academic) science which celebrates disinterestedness and unblemished quest for objective knowledge to contemporary science infused with socio-cultural and political-capitalist interests and influencing societal development profoundly. A change, which makes the scientific community a much-needed participant in social reflectivity. However, studies encountered below suggest that contemporarily the scientific community tends to cling to the old celebrated virtues and it only reluctantly enters its new role as participant in societal development and debate. The problem is not only that science apparently “chooses” not to participate in the social reflective processes, but more significantly that this choice is grounded in the traditional academic ethos according to which scientists of today have been trained. Science education, the entry point of the scientists of tomorrow, hence becomes extremely important as a place for inducing changes to the institution of science and the scientific self-perception.


Academic Science Pedagogical Interaction Contextual Awareness Societal Development Risk Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College SealandDenmark

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