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Teaching traditions in science education in Switzerland, Sweden and France: A comparative analysis of three curricula

Abstract : Classroom actions rely, among other things, on teaching habits and traditions. Previous research has clarified three different teaching traditions in Science Education: the academic tradition builds on the idea that simply the products and methods of science are worth teaching; the applied tradition focuses on students' ability to use scientific knowledge and skills in their everyday life; and the moral tradition opens up a relationship between science and society, focusing on students' decision making concerning socio scientific issues. The aim of this paper is to identify and discuss similarities and differences between the Science curricula in Sweden, France and Western Switzerland in terms of teaching traditions. The study considers the following dimensions in the analysis: 1) The goals of science education as presented in the initial recommendations of the curricula; 2) The organization and division of the core contents; and 3) The learning outcomes expected from the students in terms of concepts, skills and/or scientific literacy requirements. Although the three traditions are taken into account within the various initial recommendations, the place they occupy in the content to be taught is different in each case. In the Swedish curriculum, our analyses show that the three traditions are embedded in the initial recommendations and in the expected outcomes. On the other hand, in the Western-Swiss and French curricula, the three traditions are embedded in the initial recommendations but only academic tradition can be found in the expected outcomes. Therefore, the Swedish curriculum seems to be more consistent regarding teaching traditions. This may have some consequences on teaching and learning practices, which will be discussed in the article. Moreover, our analyses enable us to put forward definitions of teaching tradition.
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 4:52:48 PM
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Laurence Marty, Patrice Venturini, Jonas Almqvist. Teaching traditions in science education in Switzerland, Sweden and France: A comparative analysis of three curricula. European Educational Research Journal, Symposium Journals (with European Educational Research Association), 2017, 42 (1), pp.155 - 163. ⟨10.1177/1474904117698710⟩. ⟨halshs-01599133⟩

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