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Philosophical inquiry and critical thinking in primary and secondary science education


Sprod, T, Philosophical inquiry and critical thinking in primary and secondary science education, International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching, Springer, MR Matthews (ed), Dordrecht, pp. 1531-1564. ISBN 978-94-007-7653-1 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-94-007-7654-8_48


If Lipman’s claim that philosophy is the discipline whose central concern is thinking is true, then any attempt to improve students’ scientific critical thinking ought to have a philosophical edge. This chapter explores that position.

The first section addresses the extent to which critical thinking is general – applicable to all disciplines – or contextually bound, explores some competing accounts of what critical thinking actually is and considers the extent to which scientific thinking builds on, or is quite different from, generic thinking. Evidence that traditional science education does not teach scientific thinking well leads to the conclusion that some different pedagogical approach needs to be added to science curricula.

The second section surveys several approaches to ‘minds-on’ science education, each of which shares an emphasis on the students identifying areas of puzzlement, rigorous discussion of these puzzles, attention to metacognition and opportunities to address thinking across different contexts.

Finally, a summary of the main conclusions is followed by consideration of possible objections and suggestions as to further research that could help to clarify and fine-tune the teaching of good scientific thinking in primary and secondary schools.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:science education, critical thinking, thinking skill, science lesson, cognitive conflict
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Philosophy of mind (excl. cognition)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in education
UTAS Author:Sprod, T (Dr Tim Sprod)
ID Code:126500
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2018-06-14
Last Modified:2018-08-07

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