Research in Science Education

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 281–299 | Cite as

The democratic argument for science curriculum reform in Britain and Australia: 1935–1945

  • Rod Fawns


The dominance of “academicism” in science education can be shown over the last century. However in the period of this study, when access to a universal secondary education was the main thrust of social reconstruction in Britain and Australia, a key struggle was for a socially-centred general science. The struggle, concerned the terms on which “the spirit of Science alive in the world”, could enter and transform education in schools to meet human needs. The epistemological arguments of the reformers were pragmatic. This study, set initially in an earlier period of depressive capitalism, is an account of how curriculum and cultural change was mediated by educational actors, employing pragmatic arguments for reform which drew on the metaphoric power of a scientific achievements which emanated from their society, to pursue democratic agendas within their workplace and locality.


Science Teaching Science Teacher General Science Grammar School Pragmatic Argument 
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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Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Mathematics EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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