Updated: Feb 12
Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with science.
What does that have to do with education?
Science is the bedrock of modern-day education. As a society, understanding science’s contributions to how we educate children is important. If there are issues with how our children are responding to the current educational paradigm, there are issues with the scientific theories on which our educational models are built.
Let me further explain my opening statement:
What I love about science is that it recognizes theories as always subject to reinterpretation. We give ourselves permission to grow in our understanding of a topic, to learn how it interlays with other subjects, and to commit to continuous discovery.
What I hate about science is that many people forget that scientific theories are always subject to reinterpretation. When we fail to amass refuting arguments, we internalize these theories as inherent beliefs - which is hugely problematic.
Science only applies to topics that can be falsified. If there is no way to prove a theory false, it does not fit within the realm of science. Also, all scientific truths are corroborated. Meaning, science provides us with the best truth for now and an expectation that we will arrive at a better truth tomorrow. Scientific facts are continuously subject to review, which is why it’s problematic when people treat scientific theories as inherent beliefs.
We often forget that science is also influenced by personal interests, social economics, and politics. Developmental theorists such as Watson, Skinner, Piaget and Vygotsky are the founding fathers of modern education. There were significant interests in compulsory schooling and politics that influenced their findings. Yet, we blindly accept that their interpretations of child psychology largely hold true (FYI, there are serious flaws in all of their theories).
Also, there’s a lot of subjectivity in objective observances. Scientists are people like you and I. You and I can attend to the same stimulus and have different, though equally compelling, stories to share based on our findings. Neither of us is wrong. This is commonplace. Let us remember that there was a time when scientists thought the earth was flat.
Key lesson: Many voices sharing one opinion, does not increase the validity of that point of view over that one voice that disagrees.
A scientific discovery is “trending” when other individuals share our interpretations. As popularity increases, social and political interests often silence refuting arguments for simplicities' sake. The dominant view, diluted for the media and general consumption, becomes normalized into