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Science & Education

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 169–189 | Cite as

Science Instruction with a Humanistic Twist: Teachers' Perception and Practice in Using the History of Science in Their Classrooms

  • Hsingchi A. Wang
  • David D. Marsh
Article

Abstract

Scholars have argued that the history of science should be included in the science curriculum because it provides meaningful perspective about scientific concepts, processes, and context. This article begins with a review of efforts to humanize science education by including the history of science, and a review of the rationale for including the history of science in the science education curriculum. The authors then synthesize a conceptual framework for examining the role of the history of science in science education. The framework is organized around realms in the history of science: a) conceptual understanding, b) procedural understanding, and c) contextual understanding, and includes approximately 3 sub-elements within each realm. The framework has been used previously to study the inclusion of the history of science in high school physics textbooks (Wang 1998). In this study, it is used to examine the perceptions and practices of elementary and secondary school teachers in using the history of science in their classrooms. Thirty-eight teachers completed a questionnaire which used Likert scale items to assess their perception of the value of the history of science, and practice in using it in their classroom. A sub-set of teachers were then interviewed to understand the interconnection of these views in more detail. Teachers believe that the inclusion of the history of science should not be used for elementary school students. Teachers who believe in and practice the inclusion of the history of science identify many benefits for their students. However, they believe that it is difficult to include the procedural realm of understanding. The authors conclude that humanizing science isn't a matter of making it fun so much as making it a human and meaningful endeavor.

Keywords

Science Education Elementary School School Teacher Conceptual Understanding Scientific Concept 
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

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsingchi A. Wang
    • 1
  • David D. Marsh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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