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How do different student constituencies (not) learn the history and\ud philosophy of their subject? Case studies from science, technology and\ud medicine

By G. Gooday


[FIRST PARAGRAPH]\ud Why should H.E. teachers concern themselves with how their\ud students do or don’t learn? Much has been said recently about the\ud alleged merits and demerits of ‘student-centred’ learning, especially on\ud the extent to which student autonomy in the learning process is\ud beneficial to their long-term interests. This paper is a not a contribution\ud to that debate. Rather it focuses on how teachers might uphold their\ud conventional educational responsibilities but make their role more\ud effective. Its central thesis is that this role is most effective when treated not so much as the ‘teaching’ of students as the process of helping students\ud to learn. This particular study concerns how university students of\ud science, technology and medicine (STM) can be helped to learn the\ud history and philosophy of their respective subject from practitioners in\ud the history and philosophy of science, technology and medicine. But I\ud will not be focussing on those students (sometimes the majority) who\ud have no trouble learning to think in historical and philosophical ways\ud about their subject. They are not the ones who require most help from\ud us. More importantly, I look at those students who—despite the best\ud efforts of their teachers—find the historical or philosophical sensibility\ud to be difficult, repellent, uninteresting, irrelevant, pointless or simply\ud weird. In the worst case scenario such students learn nothing substantial\ud or valuable from classes in the history and philosophy of their subject,\ud and become bored, alienated or hostile to the whole enterprise.\ud \u

Publisher: The Higher Education Academy : Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies
Year: 2002
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