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I want to begin today with two short personal remarks. My field of research at home is the cultural study of science education. In other words, I am interested in what is commonly called the culture of science and how that becomes interpreted in science education by teacher and curriculum. I am interested in the variation of culture among American students, cultural variations grounded in family and community and brought to the classroom. I am interested in the cultural interactions that are precipitated by the meeting of cultures in the science classroom. In my current work I use worldview concepts to examine the various ways students and teachers have come to understand the natural world and the manner and extent to which science has informed that understanding. I came to this avenue of research from my experiences as a lecturer in science education at the University of Sokoto, Nigeria. My research is grounded in an African experience, and what I have to say today I have said at home. Now I am not naive. I am fully aware of great differences between the two continents - it is simply that I have found that certain themes are of broad geographical importance. My second personal remark is that I do not think that I have much to say that many of you have not already heard or said. However, I trust that the context of my presentation will stimulate and precipitate new thinking about these known but very important ideas. In brief the ideas are first that educators have historically thought of science as a singularity -being above culture; that however, has led at least tacitly to the view that science education ought also to be a singularity. Indeed, science education around the globe is remarkably similar. The second idea is that regardless of one's position on the singularity of science proper; one ought to consider alternative, culturally-grounded constructions of science education, that is, there ought to be heterogeneity in science education.


SLCSP Paper # 122

Published Citation

Cobern, William W. "Alternative Constructions of Science and Science Education." Southern Africa Association for Mathematics and Science Education Research. University of Durban-Westville, Durban, South Africa: January 1994.