Blurring the Boundary Between the Classroom and the Community: Challenges for Teachers’ Professional Knowledge
Today arguments mount for a science education that students find engaging. Thus attention has turned towards curriculum that places more focus on the world outside school, on the reasonable view that if students are to operate as informed citizens then the science curriculum they experience at school has to be sufficiently meaningful and relevant for them to perceive links with what they experience outside the school doors. However, the science that is enacted beyond the classroom is not immediately discernible in the issues and problems in which it resides, because it is melded immutably with knowledge and understanding in a range of other subjects—mathematics, geography and economics—and also is imbued with social, cultural and political values. Teaching science that includes interaction with significant issues beyond the classroom demands of teachers a different knowledge base than the discipline-specific perspective. Instead, teachers need to work in interdisciplinary ways and integrate at least some parts of the curriculum. Significantly, curriculum integration is a contested concept in science education, reflecting the tension that exists between the powerful knowledge attributed to disciplines and the arguably more worthwhile, but less powerful, interdisciplinary knowledge available from an integrated curriculum. Thus for quality teaching that deals with issues beyond the classroom, a different interpretation of pedagogical content knowledge is required. In this chapter, the curriculum forces that underlie this tension are explored and an argument made for a more balanced view of science curriculum which can serve both the need for disciplinary knowledge and the need for students to be able to apply their learning outside of school.
KeywordsContent Knowledge Pedagogical Content Knowledge Science Curriculum Disciplinary Knowledge Community Community
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