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  • Writer's pictureHector Devia Robayo

Education as Science

Updated: Jun 24, 2023


Student at UNAD Florida University

Online Educational Research Course

Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Everyone who lives in the world needs to have some understanding of the nature and effects of science” (Linus Pauling as quoted in Watch Tower, 1993, p. 8)

The term science comes from the Latin word Scientia, that means “knowledge” (Mahoney, 2002, Online Dictionary). So, an intellectual endeavor aimed “to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works” is science (Railsback, 2017, webpage). Such endeavor for understanding better, produces a corpus of substantive knowledge accepted by the community of scientists, who looks to apply their discovered knowledge in a number of practical ways (Sokal, 2008, p. 2). Almost any kind of knowledge might be made scientific if it gives “primacy to reason and observation and a methodology” (Sokal, 2008, p. 3).

Due to human knowledge is fallible, a method that “minimize the influence of bias or prejudice” is needed (Wolfs, 2013, webpage). That is why researchers use the scientific method following a set of logic, clearly described and detailed steps regardless of the field to which it is applied. Basically, the steps for doing scientific research are: (1) question, (2) observation, (3) hypothesis, (4) experiments, (5) data analysis, and (6) conclusions (Martín, 2017, website).

Regarding step one, question, the researcher begins asking questions about a phenomenon he or she has observed, the questions around a subject could be, how? what? why? where? and so on. When the researcher knows what must be answered, then he or she begins step two, a careful and systematic process of observation gathering data in order that an answer may be found. When a testable explanation arises, in step three the researcher produces a hypothesis, due to the potential answer to the question. The hypothesis must be tested by means of experiments, that is, in step four there are testing, predictions, and observations to determine if something happens or not, according to previous hypothesis. In step five, it is necessary to perform a data analysis from the information gathered to confirm or reject the proposed hypothesis. After the process of research, in line with data analysis the researcher arrives to final conclusions in step six. Conclusions may be a new hypothesis, or, a new well-founded theory that answer the research question (Khan Academy, n.d., website; Martín, 2017, website).

Figure 1: Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org

It can be said there are various kinds of science, on the ground that, a field of knowledge becomes a science when it is pursued in the spirit of the scientific method, and it is free of bias or prejudice (Railsback, 2017, webpage). This makes hard to classify scientific knowledge; indeed, science branches overlap in many cases, creating interdisciplinary fields that combine parts of two or more sciences. On this subject, many references speak of four main science divisions, they are: natural sciences, social sciences, formal sciences and applied sciences. This taxonomy of science is not definite, and, other references branch slightly different the science classification (Aulamax, 2015, video file; Science Mirror, 2015; Watch Tower, 1993, p. 6). A partial classification of science is as follows:

(1) Natural Sciences endeavor to explain the various rules of the nature. That is, the physical world or the living things (Aulamax, 2015, Video File; Science Mirror, 2015, Blog).

  • Physical Science

  • Physics

  • Chemistry

  • Earth Science

  • Space Science

  • Life Science

  • Biology

  • Zoology

  • Botany

  • Molecular Biology

(2) Social Sciences focus its attention on people and society. That is why its fields of study includes law, history, education, sociology and so on (Aulamax, 2015, Video File; Science Mirror, 2015, Blog).

  • History

  • Economy

  • Sociology

  • Low

  • Pedagogy

  • Archaeology

  • Political Science

(3) Formal Science produces theories from human reasoning, and it does not try to prove its conclusions with the real world. Formal Science use symbols and logic thinking to prove their “findings” (Aulamax, 2015, Video File; Science Mirror, 2015, Blog).

  • Mathematics

  • Logic

  • Statistics

  • Decisions

(4) Applied Sciences, has to do with how to put theories into practice in specific fields (Science Mirror, 2015, Blog).

  • Engineering

  • Computer science

  • Civil Engineering

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Chemical Engineering

  • Genetic

  • Software

  • Operation Research

  • Industrial

  • Health Science

  • Medicine

  • Pharmacy

  • Dental

  • Applied Physics

  • Applied Chemistry

  • Applied Biology

Four branches of Science

As previously noted, any kind of knowledge can be classified as science if is pursued in the spirit of the scientific method, and it is free of bias or prejudice. One of such field is teaching or education. If knowledge on teaching are discovered by research following a method and free of bias and prejudice, then it can be named scientific knowledge. This is what is called pedagogy, although it could be call craft and art also.

Pedagogy as craft, art and science

Figura 3: Retrieved from: www.learningcommunitypartners.eu

Pedagogy is understood as the study and theory of the methods, principles and of teaching (Cambridge University, 2017, website; Collins, 2017, website). This definition asks for “reflection to understand what happens” at classroom, teachers “research and evaluate the teaching and learning”, they “generate knowledge about teaching and learning”, and how they ponder on how to use current knowledge to understand their practice better. To do so, they need to research, that is discover scientific knowledge (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2007, pp. 272, 286; Sievers, 2016, website).

In conclusion, teaching or pedagogy can be science, and any teacher can add to knowledge or solve teaching problems doing research in education (Hernández Sampieri, Fernández Collado, & Baptista Lucio, 2014, p. XXIV). Science is not only for people at laboratories using white coats, educator or teachers as pedagogues are scientist at classroom.

REFERENCES

Aulamax. (2015). Ciencia y su Clasificación. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=321&v=o_iQaqXZv5Y

Cambridge University. (2017). Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed). London ; New York: Routledge.

Collins. (2017). Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english

Khan Academy. (n.d.). The scientific method [Educative]. Retrieved November 4, 2017, from https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/intro-to-biology/science-of-biology/a/the-science-of-biology

Martín, A. R. (2017, May 29). Los 6 Pasos del Método Científico y sus Características. Retrieved November 4, 2017, from https://www.lifeder.com/pasos-metodo-cientifico/

Railsback, B. (2017). What is Science [Webpage for Dr. Bruce Railsback’s lecture section]. Retrieved November 4, 2017, from http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/a/c/acp103/PSYCH105/whatisscience.htm

Science Mirror. (2015, November 30). Branches of Science – The Complete List. Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://www.sciencemirror.com/branches-of-science-the-complete-list

Sievers, U. (2016, October 12). Thoughts on curriculum development in Waldorf schools. Retrieved November 7, 2017, from http://www.learningcommunitypartners.eu/2016/10/12/curriculum-matters/

Sokal, A. (2008, February). What is science and why should we care? Lecture presented at the Third Annual Sense About Science lecture, UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre, UK. Retrieved from http://archive.senseaboutscience.org/pages/annual-lecture-2008.html

Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. (1993, April 8). Part 1: Science—Mankind’s Ongoing Search for Truth. In Awake! Magazine, 74(7), 6–8.

Wolfs, F. L. H. (2013). Introduction to the Scientific Method [Educative]. Retrieved November 3, 2017, from http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

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