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Ideas, politics and practices of integrated science teaching in the global Cold War

  • KRISTIAN H. NIELSEN (a1)
Abstract

During the Cold War, UNESCO played a major role in promoting science education across the world. UNESCO's Programme in Integrated Science Teaching, launched in 1969, placed science education at the heart of socio-economic development in all nations. The programme planners emphasized the role of science education in the development of human resources necessary to build a modern nation state, seeking to build a scientific and engineering mindset in children. UNESCO's interest in science education drew inspiration from early Cold War curriculum reforms in the United States, where scientists, psychologists and teachers promoted science education as a way to enhance the scientific and technical workforce and to counteract irrational tendencies. While US curriculum reformers were concerned about the quantity and quality of science teaching in secondary school, UNESCO wanted to introduce science as a topic in primary, secondary and vocational schools, promoting integrated science teaching as the best way to do this. From the outset, the term ‘integrated’ meant different things to different people. It not only entailed less focus on scientific disciplines and scientific method strictly defined, but also more on teaching children how to adopt a curious, experimental and engineering approach in life. By the end of the Cold War, UNESCO abandoned the idea of integrated science teaching, but it has a lasting legacy in terms of placing ways of teaching science to children at the heart of modern society.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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6 See, for example, Galison, Peter and Hevly, Bruce W. (eds.), Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992; Kevles, Daniel J., ‘Cold War and hot physics: science, security, and the American state, 1945–56’, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences (1990) 20, pp. 239264.

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8 Rudolph, op. cit. (2), Chapter 4.

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43 Albert V. Baez, ‘The work of UNESCO in the field of higher scientific and technological education’, 3 October 1962, at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001546/154627eb.pdf, accessed 14 November 2017.

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52 Awokoya, op. cit. (1), p. 19.

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54 Rutherford and Gardner, op. cit. (53), p. 49, underlining in original.

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58 Morris H. Shamos, ‘The conceptually oriented program in elementary science’, in Richmond, op. cit. (53), pp. 179–187, at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001365/136594mb.pdf, accessed 14 November 2017. Shamos's later critique of scientific literacy is Shamos, , The Myth of Scientific Literacy, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

59 Shamos, ‘The conceptually oriented program’, op. cit. (58), p. 180.

60 Shamos, ‘The conceptually oriented program’, op. cit. (58), p. 181.

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62 Feuchtwanger and Kaplan, op. cit. (61), p. 120.

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65 E. Ayotunde Yoloye, ‘Evaluation of the African Primary School Program’, 24 November 1975, at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0002/000206/020641EB.pdf, accessed 14 November 2017. See also Bajah, Sam T., ‘Primary science curriculum development in Africa: strategies, problems and prospects with particular reference to the African Primary Science Programme’, European Journal of Science Education (1981) 3, pp. 259269.

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71 Harlen, op. cit. (70), p. 63.

72 Thomas Gadsden, Paul Beclit and George Dawson, ‘The design and content of integrated science courses’, in Reay, op. cit. (67), pp. 40–50, at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001366/136669eo.pdf, accessed 14 November 2017.

73 Gadsden, Beclit and Dawson, op. cit. (72). p. 48.

74 Quoted in Rondinelli, Dennis A., Middleton, John and Verspoor, Adriaan M., Planning Education Reforms in Developing Countries: A Contingency Approach, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990, p. 4.

75 Rudolph, op. cit. (2).

76 David Cohen, ‘Evaluation in integrated science teaching: an introduction’, in Cohen, op. cit. (66), pp. 9–15, at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001366/136659eo.pdf, accessed 14 November 2017.

77 Brown, Sally A., ‘A review of the meanings of, and arguments for, integrated science’, Studies in Science Education (1977) 4, pp. 3162.

78 Dorn and Ghodsee, op. cit. (34), pp. 396–397.

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