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16. Physics Teching [Prof. Gurgel, Brazil]

Start Date:
6. June 2019, 09:45
Finish date:
6. June 2019, 10:45



Repositioning the History of Physics in Science Teaching: Considerations from the Historiography of Science and Critical Curriculum Theories


For decades researchers in History and Philosophy of Science and in Science Teaching have presented different arguments regarding the role of a historical understanding of science. However, over the past few years this debate has been restricted to the advocacy of the teaching of Nature of Science (NoS) topics – a set of statements concerning what science is. In particular, the so-called consensual view of NoS, as proposed by Lederman and colleagues, has guided teaching-learning sequences about NoS. From this perspective, episodes of History of Science would support – as examples – the teaching of NoS topics. The aim of this talk is to argue that the History of Science allows the achievement of broader educational goals which are of paramount importance to the education of new generations. For this, we firstly present some considerations based on critical curriculum theories to defend the teaching of nonconsensual views about science. It is proposed that curricula should be developed through the presentation of different epistemological perspectives towards science, so that their differences and controversial aspects are clarified. Secondly, we defend a humanistic perspective of science curriculum, which understands that the school's role is to educate people for life in society. Reflecting on the role of the school in the formation of fair and egalitarian societies, which respect diversity, we discuss the concept of identity in social psychology to argue about the importance of breaking down stereotypes. We highlight how social groups are excluded from science because they are not regarded as knowledge producers. Thirdly, we do a brief review of the debates in Historiography of Science over the last years. Special emphasis is given to the Contextual History of Science. Although this approach is often presented as a uniform perspective of understanding science, we argue that there are different contextual levels that can be considered in the study of a historical episode: scientific, intellectual, cultural, social and economic ones. Each of these levels involves their own philosophical presuppositions, which implies that they can not be overlapped if these differences are not taken into account. Thus, some criteria are needed to know which contextual level is more suitable to the understanding of a particular historical episode. As a synthesis of the discussion, some episodes of History of Physics are briefly presented in order to demonstrate how different educational objectives may be achieved when an appropriate historiographical perspective towards them is considered.


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