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What discourse of science dominates lower post-primary education in Ireland?

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dc.contributor.advisor Tormey, Roland Freeman, Shane 2012-02-08T15:59:15Z 2012-02-08T15:59:15Z 2011
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This study examines the discourse of science presented at lower Post-Primary level in Ireland. In the investigation the text materials for the course were qualitatively examined. The data analysis revealed five key themes in the presentation of the course. First, it was found that the course advocates and glorifies the use and manufacture of all kinds of consumable products and industrial technology such as deodorants, perfumes, cars and so on. Enlightenment Rationale is clearly evident in this portrayal as these productions are deemed to be the means through which society has developed and the current model of society is deemed to be an advanced and improved civilisation. In this relationship society is almost dependant on science and its ‘progression’ is fuelled by scientific technology. Society thus is seen to be constantly improving and its potential is deemed to be limitless. This view of development centres on convenience, easy access, industrialisation, creature comforts and consumable products and does not draw attention to the social or moral dimensions, and only isolated attention to the environmental aspects. Secondly, science is shown to have provided resources for technology, industry and agriculture and as all of these areas shape national and international economy, science can be seen at the root of this ‘growth’. This depiction offers a modernist ideology of progress and the question of whether or not science is beneficial to society, or alternate models of development, never arises in the course, and Western desirability and superiority are underlying premises in the course as a whole. The third prominent theme is the reoccurrence of the modernisation theory of development in these texts, suggesting that the best way for Third World Countries to develop is through industrialisation, or, becoming like western countries. While these values and attitudes are quite prevalent in the course, the fourth theme highlights how science is generally represented as value-free or value-neutral and links are not drawn between science and influential factors from society. Instead, scientists are depicted as honest, noble and respectable men who, often seemingly spontaneously, have produced laws, theories and equations. The course is also steeped in recent history, with scientists, their theories and contributions awarded prestigious and prominent positions. The discourse of science presented here has many connections to society and it offers a contemporary account of science, focusing on developments rather than scientific processes. The texts explicitly advocate approaching science education from technological and societal perspectives through the use of ‘Science Technology and Society’ (STS) and wish to draw the links between them. Finally, the fifth theme shows that rather than presenting a nuanced account of science and development, the majority of the texts glorify and promote Western society and the way of life it has given rise to, which is often at the expense of other forms of knowledge and values. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject science en_US
dc.subject lower post primary school en_US
dc.title What discourse of science dominates lower post-primary education in Ireland? en_US
dc.type Master thesis (Research) en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en

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