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Teaching controversies in earth science

the role of history and philosophy of science

Glenn Dolphin, Jeff Dodick

pp. 553-599

The state of geoscience education, in terms of numbers of teachers, students taught, and perceived importance, has been lagging behind the other science disciplines for decades. Part of the reason for this is that geology is seen as a "derivative" science as compared to its "experimental" counterparts (for instance, physics and chemistry). However, with current global issues facing the populations of the world (climate change, scarcity of clean water, increasing fossil fuel usage), being geoscience literate is a must. We will show that, in fact, the geological sciences have their own philosophical structure, being both historical and hermeneutic, and it is the structure that makes the teaching of the geosciences for addressing such global issues advantageous. In addition, we will explore the use of historical controversies as a pedagogical tool for geoscience instruction. The history of geology is rife with controversy and the use of such a strategy has been shown to be effective for developing students' interest in the content, sharpening critical thinking skills, as well as emphasizing the nature of science. This chapter consolidates the knowledge base by describing the structure of the geosciences in terms of its philosophical, theoretical, and cognitive frameworks. It highlights four geoscience controversies in terms of these frameworks, all the while reviewing the literature for the use of HPS in geoscience teaching. Finally it contains recommendations for possible future directions for geoscience education research within this context.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7654-8_18

Full citation:

Dolphin, G. , Dodick, J. (2014)., Teaching controversies in earth science: the role of history and philosophy of science, in M. R. Matthews (ed.), International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 553-599.

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