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View Diary: Can science take stands on issues? (38 comments)

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  •  Science can't (0+ / 0-)

    Science can't take stands.
    Scientists can and do.

    OTOH, facts sometimes argue for one side.

    •  The well-known liberal bias (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of reality.

      As for the role of science teachers, I think that a point missing from the diary is the choice of what to teach, and which methods to use. This choice will always be to some degree ethical, and involves taking a stand on which subjects are more important.

      The quote seems to say: You shall not make such a choice, but instead teach what the government tells you to teach.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

      by Lesser Dane on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 09:41:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re role of science teachers (0+ / 0-)

        I see that I may have given that impression.  I should have gone more out of my way to avoid this.  I'll make a quick update on this.  Thanks for pointing this out.

        I agree with you that the choice of what and how to teach is ethical.  From my ethical view (utilitarianism), I suspect that good collaboration between teachers and governments works best.  I've got a lot of classroom experience, so I know how important it is to give teachers room to maneuver.  At the same time, good support from governments (or other outside bodies) helps out a lot, beyond just paying the bills.  It's up to us to make sure that support is in fact good.

        •  I don't know much about the US school system (0+ / 0-)

          apart from what I learned through Hollywood. But in Danish school tradition there is a concept called "Freedom of Method" - which means that the government decides WHAT is to be taught, and the schools/teachers decide HOW it is taught.

          Like many other Freedoms, it has been under attack/erosion in recent years. I am wondering if a similar concept is known in the US.

          The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

          by Lesser Dane on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 10:07:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  re Freedom of Method (0+ / 0-)

            Interesting.  I've seen both.  An example of a class in which WHAT and HOW is mandated: Active Physics.  From my experience with Active Physics, that approach has room for improvement, but I think the basic idea of bringing state-of-the-art knowledge on effective teaching strategies to classrooms is a good one, as long as teachers have the flexibility to adjust it to fit their own abilities.

            An example of a class in which only WHAT is mandated: AP Physics.  The curriculum is very tightly controlled.  (It's equivalent to a intro college-level physics class, and if students score high enough on the standardized AP Exam then they may get college credit.)  However, teachers are free to cover the material as they please.  I just finished assisting an AP Physics class, and we had some fun designing our own methods.

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