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martes, 18 de marzo de 2014

Values in the Science Classroom

I recently read an article about teaching values on the science classroom. I wanted to share with you somethings that came to my mind while reading it.

The first thing that came to my mind was here in Mexico middle school teachers are either people who studied what we call a "Teacher School" where you take the focus on the subject you are going to teach (math, sciences, spanish, etc) These teachers take pedagogy and teaching related subjects plus the theory about the things they are going to teach. So their knowledge is not really deep talking about chemistry, biology etc.. is only enough to teach the subject. And people who studied a major in any science and want to teach. In high schools only a major in chemistry can teach chemistry and so on. But in order to teach you don't need a license or anything you just need an undergraduate degree.

So when the article started talking about teaching science with a focus on values I stared thinking in my own experience as an undergrad in a chemistry related major, and I couldn't remember not even one class where we discussed values in science. So... how can I expect that that person who never saw science as a value driven thing in his/her undergraduate years could have the tools to create that kind of discussion on his/her science classroom. So as a teacher who wants to do this you first have to research read a lot from all points of view and generate your own conclusion even though during class you can't be biased. the first question would be: Are teachers willing to do this extra work?. In my country unfortunately the answer would be no (at least for the most part of people)

And the other thing I wanted to comment is I believe creating this kind of science and values discussion is super important. Because I think we all know most of the students in a science classroom won't become scientists. But they'll become who one day will be home watching and infomercial and listening that organic sillicium is the fountain of youth... or that some politician says climate change doesn't exist. And some of the will be the kind of people who influence policies and big decisions, and they won't remember the Aufbau principle or the bernoulli equation but maybe they will remember that even though science are facts their application in the world will have consequences and wether you agree with it or not will depend on the ability to listen to all sides of the story and pick a side... not matter what side as long as you know you had a choice to chose where you stood.

We have to realize as teachers in all education levels that teaching the facts is no longer enough. Maybe once it was... But in a world where more and more people have to have sciencitific literacy is super important we have to make sure scientific literacy doesn't become just a collection of facts but also create conciseness about how those facts can be used to hurt others, and that science can be thought as pure... but in the hands of men can be a wonderful or terrible thing 

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