Investigating Coherence About Nature of Science in Science Curriculum Documents

Science & Education 28 (3-5):291-310 (2019)
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Abstract

The article focuses on the analysis of curriculum documents from Taiwan to investigate how benchmarks for learning nature of science are positioned in different versions of the science curricula. Following a review of different approaches to the conceptualization of NOS and the role of NOS in promoting scientific literacy, an empirical study is reported to illustrate how the science curriculum documents represent different aspects of NOS. The article uses the family resemblance approach as the account of NOS and adapts it for analysis of the curriculum documents. The FRA defines NOS as cognitive-epistemic and social-institutional systems that serve as constructs of knowledge categories with a high level of interconnectedness. The FRA was used as an analytical tool for investigating two sets of Taiwanese curriculum guidelines published 10 years apart, providing an opportunity to discuss how NOS is addressed in the curriculum reforms. The findings show a shift away from the excessive centralization of the cognitive-epistemic system to a consideration of the social-institutional system. Modifications to the benchmarks are proposed in order to achieve a more holistic and progressive approach to NOS. The article contributes to studies on NOS in science education by illustrating how the FRA can act as a tool for exploring interconnectedness of NOS ideas in the curriculum.

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