Problems in Science Curriculum Development

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 07:26 -- Umar Farooq

Science Curriculum Development

Thoughts without contents are empty and perception without concepts are blind. The same case is with science curriculum development, without proper skills upto date information and knowledge a teacher  faces problems in science curriculum development. Jerry Wellington says, "National curriculum is a 'skeleton' which needs the flesh of the real world and the "life force" of the teachers to bring it alive. Within its frame work, teachers have flexibility in the way they present science, for example, as essentially about processes and methods or, in contrast, as a body of emulated knowledge. They can also decide whether they present the various sciences as integrated whole or as separate disciplines.

Another key issue that concerns all those involved is planning science courses in schools and in designing science curriculum is the balance between process and content. Should science teacher courses place most emphasis on the skills and processes of science, such as measuring, observing, hypothesizing, predicting, and inferring (assuming that these are processes of science) or should emphasis be on the content of science, its law and theories, the body of knowledge it had accumulated through lie centuries. There was a large wing towards process science in late 1980's.

The process led approach can be qualified on following grounds.

  1. The content led approach lies failed
  2. Science for all abilities necessitates a process based curriculum
  3. The information explosion has made the teaching of facts highly questionable'
  4. Scientific facts data too quickly to form the basis for science education.

Major Points of Science Curriculum Development

Screen (1986) said that process of science learnt by pupils remained after the facts have become out of date or forgotten. It could be said that most valuable elements of a scientific education arc those that remain, after the facts have been forgotten. There are  three imperatives that must be considered while developing science curriculum these are:

  • Science discipline imperative
  • Individual imperative
  • Societal imperative

Science discipline imperative means that science curriculum must be based on both process and product aspect of science. The traditional science courses which are dedicated to covering an encyclopedia of correct answer and showing the structure of a particular science discipline tend to cover as many facts as possible. This factual information may be learned by the children from books or other sources. But to learn the process skill, they must be provided with the opportunities of processing information and data as they collect as a result of their own effort. Because of heir physical and mental involvement, processing of data improves. Hence they must observe phenomenon, classify object, communicate with teachers and class mates, measure objects, plan and conduct investigation and make infirmness in order to develop understanding of the subject matter as well as develop science process skill.

Modern science curriculum development put great emphasis on the skills to develop science curriculum in addition to imparting knowledge to student. But despite their wide spread recognition and importance, process skills are neglected in typical curricula. One reason is that many teacher are not trained to teach these skills to students, these must be balanced between process aspect and product approach of science teaching, because both those aspect or inseparable components of science. Development of science process skills need, a proper subject matter context.