A developing Science Curriculum Reform in the United States
Comparison of the science program in public education in the U.S. with science programs in other countries, specifically the Commonwealth of Independent States and the People's Republic of China, has led to discoveries of deficiencies, related to the scope, sequence, and coordination of the science programs in the U.S., based on primarily starting with theories and concepts and treating actual phenomena only as illustrations of present theories and concepts.

This has led to considerations on how to reform the science curriculum in the U.S..

In "Science Curriculum Reform in the United States," (The National Academies) (also in: Redesigning the Science Curriculum. Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, 1995. Ed: Bybee and Joseph D. McInerney), the author suggests that science, instead of starting with theories and concepts, should be taught in the way it actually is developed by scientists and as it is and has been taught in Waldorf education for 80 years, starting with phenomena and only developing concepts out of the actually experienced phenomena.

"The scope, sequence, and coordination reform effort [...] uses appropriate sequencing of instruction, taking into account how students learn. In science, understanding develops from concrete experiences with a phenomenon before it is given a name or a symbol. Students need experience with a concept in several different contexts before it becomes part of their mental repertoire. With prior hands-on experience, students can come to understand important concepts and processes of science.

"The practical components of this instruction should begin in the seventh grade with issues and phenomena of concern to students at a personal level and then progress toward a more encompassing scope in the upper grades. As they mature, students are able to generalize from concrete, direct experiences to more abstract and broader theoretical thinking. With a sequenced approach, students should no longer be expected to memorize facts and information. With practical applications, science should make sense and have meaning.

"The third component of the scope, sequence, and coordination project is the coordination of science concepts and topics. Earth and space science, biology, chemistry, and physics have significant features and processes in common. Coordination among these disciplines leads to awareness of the interdependence of the sciences and how the disciplines form a body of knowledge. Seeing a concept, law, or principle in the context of two or three different subjects helps establish it firmly in the student's mind.

"At first, students are introduced more intensively to the descriptive and phenomenological aspects of the sciences. The most abstract and theoretical aspects are emphasized in the later years. Empirical and semi-quantitative treatments are emphasized in the middle years."

The comments and suggestions show that the methodology in science teaching in Waldorf education, practiced on the basis of detailed suggestions by Rudolf Steiner 80 years ago, in contrast to allegations by critics of Waldorf education is in tune with what only now in the U.S. is being realized to be a good science education.

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