Research in Science Education

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 289–307

Towards a pragmatic science in schools


DOI: 10.1007/BF02461322

Cite this article as:
Segal, G. Research in Science Education (1997) 27: 289. doi:10.1007/BF02461322


This paper contrasts naive beliefs about the nature of science, with science as it appears from sociological and philosophical study, feminist critique and insights from multicultural education. I draw implications from these informed views to suggest how school science might be modified to project a pragmatic view of science to its students that allows students to know science and its relationships to themselves and society in multi-faceted ways. From these perspectives, pragmatic school science is situated within a values framework that questions how we know. Pragmatic school science also requires that the naive inductivist views that permeate school science inquiry methods at present be modified to recognise that observations and inquiry are guided by prior knowledge and values; that new knowledge is tentative; that some knowledge has high status, as it has been constructed consensually over a long period; but that even high status knowledge can be challenged. For implementation of these reforms, yet still to embrace the need for some students to appropriate understanding of discipline knowledge required for advanced science education, a broad set of aims is required.

Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of Technology, SydneyLindfieldAustralia