Fighting genericism and putting knowledge first: The nature of school science

What is the nature of school science? I ask this because I think we should know the nature of a subject before we design our teaching and models of assessment. I believe a subject is more than the sum of its parts, that it has a character, texture, structure, shape. If we wish to use the findings of cognitive science to help our pupils to learn better, then we need to understand this character. Any model of progress and assessment must not conflict with the nature of the subject. If we can identify similarities in character with other subjects, then we can see where we can fruitfully borrow from them. Where we find differences we can guard against the foisting of unhelpful techniques and models from other subjects, or inappropriate “genericism”.

I’m leaving aside “scientific enquiry” for the time being and focusing on “content”, for want of a better word…

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