Education as a Science

Science is defined as “the intellectual and practical activity that encompasses the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. Science relies on the accumulation of previously acquired knowledge. Scientists collaborate and learn from one another. They observe, test and experiment so that new knowledge can be obtained.

Now contrast that with Education. When it comes to Education, dogma trumps evidence and strongly held beliefs win over testing, experimentation and innovation. Whereas in Science they tinker, tweak and fix, in Education we prefer to say “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

As a result, it is very sad to think that whilst Science is taking us on a marvellous and unceasing voyage of knowledge and discovery, Education remains stuck somewhere in the 1940s.

In my view, Education needs to take a leaf from Science’s book: we need to encourage research and experimentation so evidence can be obtained on which to base our practice. There really ought to be no room for dogma or belief, however strongly held. We can do better than this. We have to do better than this.

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  1. OK, but education is based in social science where there are not necessarily clear and agreed answers to problems, but yes, let’s base policy on evidence and research, unlike Messrs Gove and Gibb, it seems.

    1. Dogma is also present at school and teacher level. I’m afraid the governments are not the only ones ignoring the vast body of evidence that is available to us all. We teachers are so used to always being right in the classroom that we want to always be right outside it too. And I grant you I may well be a case in point!

      Thanks for your comment Steve.

  2. One of the problems here is the conflicting views of the purpose of an ‘education system’. Teachers are not independent innovators they are working inside a system which has a political function to maintain status quo. It is not intended as a disruptive force. A look back at history will reveal the real motivation for such heavy investment (see Elementary education act 1870 Wikipedia)
    What scientific research is promoted depends on belief and values of communities. One cannot separate science from dogma.

  3. I was looking for Pedagogic as a science in english speaking word and have found that they do not use such definition! They use only Education. I am from Ukraine. And I have question – WHY??? Pedagogic is much more wide definition, it means development of a person in the difficult humans world. And you are VERY correctly – when science moves ahead, when we can reach Pluto and observe most distance galaxy, we do not see what is under our nose – our children, whcich left without scientific help.

Your feedback and comments are very welcome