School Chemistry: The Need for Transgression

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29 Scopus citations


Studies of the philosophy of chemistry over the past 15 years suggest that chemistry is a hybrid science which mixes scientific pursuits with technological applications. Dominant universal characterizations of the nature of science thus fail to capture the essence of the discipline. The central goal of this position paper is to encourage reflection about the extent to which dominant views about quality science education based on universal views of scientific practices may constrain school chemistry. In particular, we discuss how these predominant ideas restrict the development of chemistry curricula and instructional approaches that may better support the learning of the ideas and practices that studies of the philosophy of chemistry suggest are at the core of the discipline. Our analysis suggests that philosophical studies about the nature of chemistry invite us to transgress traditional educational boundaries between science and technology, inquiry and design, content and process, and to reconceptualize school chemistry as a paradigmatic techno scientific subject. To support these changes, chemical education researchers should expand the scope of their investigations to better understand how students and teachers reason about and engage in more authentic ways of chemical thinking and doing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1773
Number of pages17
JournalScience and Education
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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