The Enlightenment Paideia: The French Origins of Modern Science Teaching

  • Marco BragaEmail author
  • Andreia Guerra
  • José Claudio Reis
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)


Schools and science teaching have a culture composed of practices, content, and rituals and, in general, this culture represents an obstacle to implementing pedagogical practices with an historical–philosophical approach. Therefore, it is relevant to question the science teaching culture while introducing history of science into science teaching. The problem is that the guiding principles of science teaching culture are hidden and do not appear in the actions or material elements of a classroom and school. Everything seems to be natural for teachers and students. In this paper, the authors discuss some of the issues concerning the origins of the science teaching culture, focusing on the Polytechnique model of science teaching. They show how several peripheral nations influenced by French culture replicated this model. Dogmatic and instrumental characteristics marked the Polytechnique model, which was in harmony with the objectives of education for a new kind of engineer in the context of the French Revolution, a professional who should be less of a craftsman and more of a technological master, mixing practical and theoretical knowledge.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Braga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreia Guerra
    • 1
  • José Claudio Reis
    • 2
  1. 1.Federal Center for Technological Education (CEFET)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.State University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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