New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Self-Domain in Science as a Means of Critical Thinking Development

Carloalberto Petti, Institute of Technology Carlow (Ireland)


Research is at the core of the Bioscience course. It is a structurally embedded component within each year, however, it is more critically evident in third and fourth year when a wet lab is carried out. Argumentatively the classical approach to the 3rd and 4th year projects has demonstrated that, despite the theoretical benefit of active learning, students higher thinking skills are still more of a desired feature than a developed skill. Within the modelling of the curriculum context by Barnett and collaborators [1,2,3] a critical analysis of the current approach to bioscience project, evidenced that the knowledge domain has been reduced, whereas the acting domain has been expanding, determining a significant attenuation of the overlap between the two domains (knowledge and acting) along with an obvious disjointed self (domain). If research is to be embedded in the curriculum, in the truest sense of it, then, bearing in mind Barnett and Coate’ s model, a certain number of things must happen. On one hand knowledge must truly be captured by the students. This is in itself a critical point that may require to reconsider what, how and why assessment takes place. Additionally, the acting domain does require to be resized therefore allowing true competence in the technical skills intended to be mastered. This will in turn allow for a greater overlap between the two domains. Lastly, a stronger embrace of the self in the terms of critical evaluation of experiments and its outcomes is a necessity. The new model sees the concept of miniprojects at its core. A basic experimental unit that the students need to address and specifically to meet basic “core-requirements”. Students must draw on their own knowledge of technical skills to tackle the project (Knowledge domain) making decisions that will allow them to meet the core-requirements (Acting Domain) and importantly engaging with their self by evaluating and re-evaluating the outcomes of the experimental choice and the knowledge that supported such a choice. In a review of the students’ perspective at the end of their experience (n=34) the highest ranking score amongst 5 possible choices on what they had been most challenged by was “thinking”. Furthermore, 70% of the students were of the opinion that there should be more modules embracing the same format. This paper will further explore the potential application of the “self” in science and in the science curriculum.

Keywords: Critical Thinking, Curriculum, Research;

[1] Barnett, R., Parry, G. and Coate, K., 2001. Conceptualising curriculum change. Teaching in Higher Education, 6(4), pp.435-449.
[2] Barnett, R. and Coate, K., 2005. Engaging the curriculum. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
[3] Barnett, R., 2009. Knowing and becoming in the higher education curriculum. Studies in higher education, 34(4), pp.429-440.

Back to the list


Reserved area

Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy