Experimental science: Joseph Priestley’s influence in the infrastructure of the seventeenth-century science education

Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (6):599-607 (2018)

This paper discusses the emergence of science education in the seventeenth century with the influences of Joseph Priestley on the Dissenting Academies. Primarily, this paper analyses Priestley’s ideas from some of his letters to scientists during his time and his ideas from his books Miscellaneous Observations Relating to Education and the Essay on a Course of Liberal Education for Civil and Active Life. As an expository essay, analysis shows that the inclusion of experimental science education dates back from the Dissenting Academies when they explicitly aligned science education for practical life. With Priestley’s advocacy on experimental learning in science, his idea of hands-on science education encouraged other dissenters to seek and understand the changing natural world. His advocacy states that knowledge and understanding of the natural world builds the foundation for rationally evaluating the developments derived from permissible scientific theories. Not setting aside religious studies, Priestley promoted a radical education which ended the restrictions to the privileged and powerful few so that it opened up the access of learning for everyone whose capacity may range from scientific, religious, political, or educational propensities.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2018.1493680
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