What defines science?



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By: FSR – The Faculty of Science, far from the city centre and other faculties, sometimes appears to be very proud of its independence and its differences with other faculties. In a recent BètaBreak event, these differences were discussed. Some argued that science and social science are actually very related and that we should not divide the sciences so strictly. Although others did not agree, the thought of science and social science becoming more closely related appeared to be widespread in the audience.

Recently a few members of the Faculty Student Council attended a pitch from the Directors of Education of the FNWI, FALW and FEW on their future vision for education. After having presented the objectives of teaching and education, a question was raised: What makes these science education objectives so different from the objectives of social science programs? Is there any difference between the academic mindset of a science student or the expected outcome of a science program and that of a social science student or program? In a simpler way: What makes science education so sciency?

In Bloom’s famous Taxonomy of Educational Objectives for Knowledge-Based Goals the objectives are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In the field of knowledge, the differences between science and social science are very clear and obvious. To know what an atom is made of, is distinctly different than to know which writers were part of the Age of Enlightenment. However if we go through the other objectives, the differences get vaguer and vaguer.

Does education in science need to be fundamentally different than other types of education? Do we want to train and educate our students in a way that they have unique skills? Or does this uniqueness simply come down to enlarging the differences between the disciplines? Even if we try to answer these questions, the answers we give might not be sustainable over time, as career opportunities and scientific interest and innovation make the educational demands of students dynamic and everchanging.

In the view of the Faculty Student Council, this is an important topic to address as teacher or program director. Students should know whether they are scientists and which skills, tactics and techniques make them such. Even if the skills taught in a course are not particularly science-related, we still need to think about this matter.

Would you like to discuss further on this matter? You can always email the Faculty Student Counil at fnwi@studentenraad.nl

linkje naar: http://www.betabreak.nl/

linkje naar: http://www.studentenraad.nl/fnwi/

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