A New ‘Idea of Nature’ for Chemical Education

Science & Education 22 (7):1775-1786 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper recommends that chemistry educators shift to a different ‘idea of nature’, an alternative ‘worldview.’ Much of contemporary science and technology deals in one way or another with dynamic coherences that display novel and important properties. The notion of how the world works that such studies and practices generate (and require) is quite different from the earlier concepts that are now integrated into science education. Eventual success in meeting contemporary technological and social challenges requires general diffusion of an overall outlook that focuses on creative generation of novel and useful coherences, replacing a worldview that concentrates on analysis of pre-existing items to minimum constituents. Such a shift in emphasis would amount to general adoption of a new basic model of how nature functions. Chemistry educators can and should provide leadership for this urgently-needed development.

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Joseph E. Earley
Georgetown University

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