The Place of the Natural Sciences in the Modern Curriculum: The View from Modern Science

By Geoff Woolcott.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In modern education, stand alone subjects are allied to two main curriculum streams that diverged during the industrial revolution, the humanities, developed from the social and behavioural sciences, and the natural sciences. The influenced of trade-based economics on the development of subjects within these streams has contributed to issues related to a lack of cohesiveness within and across subjects and across the two streams.

This paper explores scientific approaches to the examination of concepts relevant to education, such as learning and memory, intelligence and creativity, related to subjects taught in both the humanities and the natural sciences. Such research reflects a general level of interest in the combination of studies in two streams, for example, in combinations of studies in cognitive psychology and integrative biology, as well as an interest in preventing dead-ends where research in one discipline has already refuted the approach taken in another. This paper explores the usefulness of a broad information processing approach to cognition and education, one that considers learning and memory in terms of matter and energy pathways. This novel approach supports recent scientific approaches to studies of education, but supports also the holistic approach to teaching that is well developed in the humanities.

Keywords: Humanities, Natural Sciences, Learning and Memory, Information Processing

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.269-278. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 339.219KB).

Dr. Geoff Woolcott

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

Dr. Woolcott is a senior lecturer in mathematics education in the School of Education at Southern Cross University, Australia. His research relates to the scientific study of learning and memory and its application in education, particularly in the teaching of mathematics and in the development of the gifted. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in education and mathematics and supervises postgraduate research in education. Geoff also organises and conducts workshops and courses for educators, and courses for the wider community, on mathematics and neuroscience as well as on issues that relate to biological views of learning and memory.