Enabling Scientific Understanding:
in Me, You, and our Young People - 2008
(presented as a keynote to the Western Sydney Primary Principals Association Regional Conference, ‘Rocket with Science’ in Wollongong, NSW, Australia; 23 May, 2008)
All of us have a natural curiosity to understand, explain, create, and act in ways that are supportive of personal, social and environmental wellbeing. This curiosity needs to be nurtured in our homes, schools, and communities. Gaining competencies in Science (systematised knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation), and Arts (which nurtures our creative skills), can enable us to develop our understanding of ourselves, and our relationships with one another, other species, and the environment.
Because of various historical and socio-cultural processes, the common perception of science has become narrowed and distorted; and, for some, it may have a variety of negative associations, eg, with being a nerd, left-brained, the oppressive control of nature, naïve magic-bullet responses to problems that have harmful side-effects, war and violence, and disconnection from values, compassion and the ‘spiritual’ and mysterious. Furthermore, student teachers, and students in general, often have to choose between studying either Arts or Science subjects; and in most programs for primary teachers, Science receives much less emphasis than the Arts.
In this presentation I examined ways to reclaim and reframe Science; and to integrate our new understanding of it into all primary teaching and learning.
The talk was illustrated with stories from my own learning journey; and I related the teaching of Science in Primary Schools to more effectively addressing the challenges and opportunities for our species, both now and into the future.