Developmental Philosophypedagogy

Ancient Intents

What we see in most school labs today is the remnants of the Victorian era that did a great job of instilling in Victorian students the discipline of science. Not long before that scientist in the western world were prosecuted. Some got burnt and sent to the gallows by the religious – for disputing the laws of God. Science finally emerged victorious; but in doing so, it acquired rituals of its own – to establish its validity, particularly through its singular powers of prediction – which only science could reliably demonstrate. By doing so, it established and demonstrated the “universal laws of science”.

These rituals continue today, in many school labs throughout the world, as remnants of science’s long and painful battle against religion, the occult, and alchemy.

Sir Ernest Rutherford's laboratory, early 20th century.

These rituals continue today as evidence of science’s long and painful battle against religion, occult, and alchemy. Too many classrooms around the world are using Victorian methods and apparatus in the hope that they will help to establish the discipline of science. Science blogger Janet D. Stemwedel  has this to say:

“Actual lab courses, however, often amount to following a ready-formulated procedure, trying to get the equipment to work, arriving at results that don’t clearly demonstrate the concept or relationship they are intended to demonstrate, and following more recipes for computations that don’t connect to anything much like “understanding” in the student’s head…..A good part of this can probably be laid at the feet of lab exercises that have more to do with following cookbook protocols than thinking.

As part of his research Professor Steve Rissing  conducted a controlled test and found that:

 “About one out of five students (23 percent) in the “cookbook” group answered the question correctly. But 83 percent of the students who developed their own approach gave the right answer

So much for following the rituals of science on which millions of $ are spent.

Read More: Should schools continue the rituals of science?


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